NationsBank to close branch in Wilde Lake Village Center

July 05, 1996|By Dan Morse | Dan Morse,SUN STAFF

NationsBank plans to close its branch in Columbia's Wilde Lake Village Center this fall, leaving the new town's original village center without a bank for the first time in more than 25 years.

NationsBank plans to renovate a nearby branch in the Harper's Choice village.

An official from the Rouse Co. -- which owns the Wilde Lake center -- said the company is searching for a new bank to take the departing branch's place.

NationsBank also plans to pull its automated teller machine out of Wilde Lake, said Marny Needle, the bank's senior executive for Howard County. The move may take place by late October, she said.

Several banks have stood in the Wilde Lake location, including a Columbia Bank and Trust branch and a Equitable Bank branch, which was taken over by Maryland National Bank and then NationsBank.

When Columbia was designed in the 1960s, its planners considered village centers to be key elements in giving the planned town a sense of community.

Residents were supposed to shop and visit with each other in the centers.

This week, several Wilde Lake merchants expressed concern that the bank closing would hurt their businesses.

NationsBank officials said the bank represents a "market overlap," because it is too close to its branches at The Mall in Columbia and Harper's Choice.

At Harper's Choice -- one mile from the Wilde Lake Village Center -- NationsBank plans to spend more than $500,000 on renovations, Needle said.

In April, NationsBank added three ATMs in Howard County -- two of them in Columbia, Needle said. "Our commitment to Columbia is stronger than ever," she added.

Pub Date: 7/05/96

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