I recently saw a copy of an article from the Alaska Journal of Commerce, Nov. 6, entitled "Alaska Pacific Bank branch closures shock Hoonah, Yakutat." I am appalled by this decision. I am not a resident of Hoonah but am a retired Presbyterian ministerprofessor and was asked by Alaska Presbytery to come down to Hoonah from Anchorage in April 2005 and provide some guidance, support and direction to the small struggling Hoonah Presbyterian Church.
I served in Hoonah for 4½ months until the end of August. During my ministry I was deeply impressed by the professionalism, kindness and courtesy provided to the church by Lisa L. Andersson, the bank manager, and her staff. The decision to close the bank was based on the statement, "It was all a matter of efficiency and profitability," which suggests the bank has totally missed the point of a bank's serviceability to a community and its residents.
I have no idea how the churches and businesses in Hoonah will cope with the only bank's closure. This decision was ill-advised and an irresponsible action threatening the future of this small city. The cruise ship arrivals will not overcome the damage this has created. In fact, the decision of closure may well be the "stake" that kills Hoonah as a vibrant community.
Rev. Richard J. Oman
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