Union to vacate last of in-store Martin’s branches

A Union branch in a Martin's grocery store. (BizSense file photo)

A Union branch in a Martin’s grocery store. (BizSense file photo)

The fallout from a mega-grocery deal once again has left a local bank doing the branch shuffle.

Richmond-based Union Bank & Trust is closing and relocating the last of its six branches inside Richmond-area Martin’s grocery stores.

Union spokesman Bill Cimino confirmed the moves, which involve the six local Martin’s locations that are not converting into Publix stores.

“Martin’s has given us notice to vacate those locations,” Cimino said. “We started working on finding new locations quickly.”

The changes will occur this summer and call for closing and moving branches in Martin’s stores at 6401 Centralia Road and 12601 Jefferson Davis Highway in Chester, and 5700 Brook Road in Henrico into nearby storefronts – either in the same shopping center or just up the street.

The bank also will close in-store outposts at 5201 Chippenham Crossing Center and 7045 Forest Hill Ave. in the Stratford Hills Shopping Center, and consolidate them into a new  from-scratch branch a few miles away at the massive Stonebridge mixed-use development.

Union’s Martin’s branch at 200 Charter Colony Parkway in Chesterfield will close and consolidate into its Sycamore Square branch at 13700 Midlothian Turnpike.

It’s the second time in six months Union has scrambled for real estate as a result of the 2016 merger of grocery giants Ahold and Delhaize, respective parent companies to Martin’s and Food Lion. Their marriage forced the sale of dozens of stores around the country to satisfy antitrust regulations. That included 10 Martin’s stores in the Richmond market, which Publix purchased.

Union is headquartered in the James Center at 1051 E. Cary St.

Union is headquartered in the James Center at 1051 E. Cary St.

Union had branches in six of those 10, as well as in the six Martin’s stores that were not purchased by Publix.

Last October, the bank was forced to vacate in-store branches in Martin’s stores that are being converted into Publix locations. Union employed a similar strategy in that first wave, by relocating four of the outposts in the same shopping centers and consolidating two of them into existing standalone branches.

These latest moves will mark an end to Union’s relationship with Martin’s in Richmond, which dates back to the days of Ukrop’s, the Richmond grocery chain that sold to Martin’s in 2009, and Union predecessor First Market Bank.

Cimino said it was too early to release details about the planned Stonebridge branch. He said the Martin’s branches moves into in-line storefronts at Brook Run, Chesterfield Meadows and Bermuda Square shopping centers likely are temporary, as the bank continues to look for free-standing locations nearby.

Customers of the affected branches will be notified once Union receives regulatory approval for the relocations, Cimino said. It has filed for approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Financial Institutions.

The six affected branches held $132.87 million in deposits as of June 30, the most recent figures on file with the FDIC. Union had total deposits of $6.6 billion to finish the first quarter 2017.

Union will have 111 branches statewide after the moves. The bank, headquartered downtown in the James Center, had $8.7 billion in total assets on March 31, making it the largest community bank based in Virginia.

It may soon be unseated from that Virginia throne by TowneBank, which announced an acquisition last week that will give it $9.7 billion in total assets.

The fate of these last six Martin’s stores remains unknown. The company has said they would close, but no firm timeline was announced. They remain open for business as of press time, and a Martin’s spokesperson said the company has “nothing to announce at this time.”

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Bert Hapablap

Not surprising, once Martins took over the Ukrops diehards left and these instore branches weren’t needed as much anymore. I wouldn’t look to open too many brick & mortar locations to replace these. The constant increase in internet banking is leaving a lot of free standing branches ghost towns during the day. I have loans and accounts with VA Credit Union and have never stepped foot in a branch. The need just isn’t there as much anymore for a bank branch on every corner.