Security State Bank is closing its Ostrander branch effective Dec. 31.  The bank's president, Dwayne Ostrem, stated that making the decision to close the branch was "very difficult."  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Security State Bank is closing its Ostrander branch effective Dec. 31. The bank's president, Dwayne Ostrem, stated that making the decision to close the branch was "very difficult." GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
"Anytime any business leaves a small rural town, it's very difficult," said Security State Bank President Dwayne Ostrem, speaking of the impending closure of the Lewiston-based bank's Ostrander branch, set for Dec. 31. "I grew up in the country, and we lived near a small town, and I'll always remember the town being how it was. It's a difficult decision to see things go away."

Security State Bank-Ostrander was established 22 years ago when the original bank was bought by Security State Bank.

"There's been a bank in Ostrander for over 100 years, and we've had a full-service bank, handling all the loans, safety deposit boxes, checking, savings, money market, Internet access banking," said Ostrem. "Now, our customers will have to travel to Spring Valley for their banking - they seem to travel to Spring Valley for other services, like hardware and groceries - so it seems like a natural trip to take for the residents and customers of Ostrander, since Spring Valley is the nearest town."

Harlan Mensink will retire at that time while office manager Kathy Nagel and Cindy Nightingale will relocate to the Spring Valley office.

Customers of the Ostrander branch received a letter dated Sept. 30 that shared the company's plans to close the bank there. It read in part: "After careful consideration, we have reached a difficult decision to close our Ostrander office, effective end-of-business on Dec. 31. The location of the Ostrander office and its proximity to the Spring Valley office, and the economics of operating this office led to the decision to close the office. The decision to close this office was not easy. While the Fischer family has proudly served Ostrander and the surrounding community with financial services for the past 22 years, this is really 'short term' compared to the well over 100 years that the Ostrander bank has been in existence."

The letter also explained that the company is dedicated to preserving the tradition of Security State Bank, a family owned bank for over 100 years, and has no plans to close any of its other offices. Offices in Lewiston, Spring Valley and Wykoff will remain open.

Ostrem assured the customers of the Ostrander branch that they will still have the opportunity to access their accounts at the Ostrander bank until the Dec. 31 closure date, and will have access to them online throughout the transition. He pointed out that since Nagel and Nightingale will be available at the Spring Valley office, former Ostrander branch customers will certainly see the same smiles greeting them as they do business in Spring Valley.

"It's still been a very difficult decision to make," he noted.