HIBBING — In an effort to better streamline costs and operations, an area financial institution will close two of its 16 locations across the Iron Range come this fall.

American Bank of the North announced Wednesday that it will close its Keewatin and Nashwauk East branches on Nov. 30.

Executives have been reviewing ways to make their branches more profitable in the wake of low interest rates, mounting regulations and challenging economic factors, according to a company release. The pending closures come as a result of that review.

Bryan Rude, CEO of American Bank of the North, describes the cost reductions anticipated by these branch closures as “substantial.”

“In banking, as in any business, decisions are constantly made to strengthen the organization and to protect customer assets,” he stated in the release. “This is never an easy thing to do, and we certainly don’t take it lightly.”

The industry is seeing pressure on revenue both from low-interest rates and from certain financial reform that adds costs and reduces what banks can earn on credit cards, debit cards and checking accounts, according to Rude.

“We continuously review and evaluate our branch network,” he said. “The closures are the result of industry changes and economic challenges.”

American Bank of the North will retain its presence at Nashwauk East. While branch operations there will cease, the bank’s data center and loan administration as well as a 24-hour ATM will remain at the location.

Customers aren’t expected to experience an interruption of service because of the changes, according to Marci Knight, corporate vice president.

“Customers can continue using their checks and debit cards as well as our online resources and mobile apps,” she said.

All services offered at Keewatin and Nashwauk East branches will be available at any of the other 14 locations.

Customers can continue to bank at the Nashwauk downtown branch, which will be extending its drive up hours starting Saturday, Dec. 1.

The company is continuing its cost analysis of the Bovey and Grand Rapids Wal-Mart branches, which could close as well.

Employees affected by these closures will have the opportunity to apply for other positions within the organization prior to the closures.

American Bank of the North is privately held and is a subsidiary of Mesaba Bancshares, a multi-bank holding company, and currently employs just less than 200 people.

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