Closing of banks in rural areas angers some NJ farmers

Posted: Updated:
UPPER FREEHOLD -

Some New Jersey farmers say that the closing of several bank branches in rural parts of the state is making their jobs more difficult.

News 12 New Jersey spoke with farmer Tom Freiberger, who was harvesting hay on the farm that his family has worked on for three generations. Freiberger says that when he collects the payment from other farmers who pay him for the hay, he typically heads to the branch of Bank of America in nearby New Egypt.

But that branch is closing in November. Bank of America also recently closed a branch in Allentown.

There will soon be only one bank left in New Egypt – a branch of the bank BB&T. Other Bank of America customers tell News 12 that they are not happy about having to drive another 10 miles to a bank in Burlington.

“The transactions of our business are done in a hay barn, out in the field, in pickup trucks. We're not in an office setting,” Freiberger says. “We accept checks and we have to go to the bank weekly to deposit them. When the bank is not close and local, that's a bigger inconvenience for us for sure.”

Demographers say that the current trend of closing bank branches is of no surprise. They say that as development booms in once-shrinking cities like Newark and Jersey City and smaller towns along rail lines, rural areas of Sussex, Hunterdon, Ocean and Monmouth counties are losing population.

“And very little traditional suburban development is going on. So the world has changed dramatically,” says James Hughes, dean of Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.

Between 2000 and 2016, New Egypt's population dropped from 2,519 to 2,075, according to U.S. Census data.  Experts say that this means corporations that operate banks or lay fiber optic cable for high speed internet are slowly pulling back on places like this.

“Unless you have a certain population threshold, all of a sudden maybe the doctor’s office closes. Maybe the branch bank closes. So the problem of losing population is losing services and setting that negative spiral in to effect,” Hughes says.

A spokesperson for Bank of America tells News 12 that the decision to close the bank was made based on a wide range of factors, including more people doing their banking online.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • 70th Emmy Awards

    70th Emmy Awards

    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

    The 70th Emmy Awards were held at Microsoft Theater on Sept. 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

  • Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

  • Guide: Where to find food trucks in New Jersey

    Guide: Where to find food trucks in New Jersey

    Food Truck Friday: Callahan'sFood Truck Friday: Callahan's

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them in New Jersey.

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them in New Jersey.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."