Town Seeks Bank

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, February 24 2012 at 2:55 PM, Updated: Fri, February 24 2012 at 3:10 PM

Dorris, California is bracing for closure of the town's only bank... and the community is busy working to recruit a replacement.

Greg Surface enjoys helping his neighbors in Dorris, but he feels helpless about the approaching closure of the town's only bank.

"It's really going to hurt us.  We'll all have to do all our banking up in Klamath, or in Weed.  So, being on social security, it makes it kind of hard."

Premier West announced last month they're closing eleven branches, including the branch in Dorris - and that's a big deal in Dorris, where it's the only bank in town.

Resident Wayne Frost notes that while Dorris has a population of around 900, the bank also serves those living in the surrounding area.

"I would say for the Butte Valley area, probably in the neighborhood of 3000 people."

The Butte Valley Chamber of Commerce is working to recruit a new bank or credit union.  They recently sent out a survey to help with that recruitment effort.

Tanya Frost of the Family Hairloom Salon notes that the branch closure is a big topic of discussion among her clients.

"Everybody's saying everything about it.  It's just going to be devastating for all of us."

Negotiations are reportedly underway with at least two other banks.  And if a new bank comes to town, Greg Surface says he'll open an account.

"I think almost everybody in town would do the same thing.  They would stay with local banking."

The Dorris branch is scheduled to close April 20th. 

Premier West says the closures are due to a combination of a weak economy, growth in internet banking, and increased government regulations.  Premier West estimates that the 11 closures will save the bank about 2 million dollars a year.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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