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Bank: No need to fear as branch sites are auctioned

‘Our leases go for another 10 years or more,’ Community Bank executive vice president says

The Community Bank at 46 Broadway in Saranac Lake is seen Friday afternoon. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

SARANAC LAKE — A collection of Community Bank branch locations in the North Country will be put up for public auction next week; however, customers shouldn’t fear finding a new place to deposit their money, a Community Bank representative said.

In a phone interview Friday, Community Bank Executive Vice President Scott Kingsley said the sale of the properties would not affect the bank branches.

“Our leases go for another 10 years or more,” he said. “So our position as the tenant is protected. Our leases survive the actions.”

The properties that will be put up for auction include Community Banks branches in Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, AuSable Forks, Fort Covington, Long Lake, Indian Lake and North Creek. There are also locations in Tupper Lake and Newcomb where Community Bank is still the tenant but no longer operates.

Community Bank leases the properties from a limited liability company run by Net Lease Capital Advisors, a commercial real estate agency in Nashua, New Hampshire. Net Lease also owns buildings such as the Hershey Company headquarters in Pennsylvania, a Social Security Administration office in Birmingham, Alabama, and an eBay office in San Jose, California.

According to a judgment index filed with the Franklin County clerk’s office, all the properties would have to be bought as one parcel costing $4,225,107.59. Kingsley said if the sale allowed splitting up the parcel, Community Bank might be interested in purchasing seven of the 10 properties itself.

Kingsley said any buyer looking to purchase the properties would probably do so because Community Bank’s leases provide a solid source of income to the property owner.

“It’s us as the tenant that’s important,” he said. “It’s the Community Bank cash flow that makes these properties viable.”

The foreclosures were filed with the Supreme Court of Franklin County on Oct. 17, and the properties will be put up for public auction Friday at the Franklin County Courthouse in Malone.

The plaintiff listed in the foreclosure notice is the U.S. Bank National Association, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp and the fifth-largest retail bank chain in the U.S., according to Federal Reserve statistics from March 31, 2019.

A company called CRE JV Mixed Fifteen NY 3 Branch Holdings LLC is the owner that is losing these bank properties. It bought the ones in Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake, at least, from Citizens Bank in 2006 when they became Community Banks.

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Managing Editor Peter Crowley contributed to this report.

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