Last updated: February 20. 2013 1:10AM - 710 Views

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WILKES-BARRE – A bank is seeking federal government permission to close its downtown Wilkes-Barre branch and relocate it less than two blocks away in a shuttered bank building on Public Square.

First National Community Bank filed an application with the Comptroller of the Currency on Monday seeking approval to close its branch at 23 W. Market St., at the corner of North Franklin Street.

The application says FNCB intends to open a branch at 46 Public Square, in the former Wachovia Bank branch where North Main Street meets the Square.

The Wachovia Bank closed its doors in the fall of 2010 and the office has been vacant since.

The Dunmore-based First National Community Bank has 21 branches throughout Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe and Wayne counties. Ten of them are in Luzerne County, and the North Franklin Street branch was the bank's fourth when it opened in 1999.

If approval is granted and the move is made, it would bring the total number of banks or ATMs on Public Square to three. In addition to a Luzerne Bank branch next to the F.M. Kirby Center, there's also a PNC Bank ATM machine outside of the Geisinger building. Within two blocks of the square are a PNC Bank, M&T Bank, Citizens Bank and a Honesdale National Bank Mortgage Center.

The approval for the move is not a certainty. Anybody wishing to comment on the application may file written comments with the Director of District Licensing, Northeastern District, 340 Madison Ave., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10017 or online at www.occ.treas.gov with two weeks.

Until we get final regulatory approval from the OCC, we can't offer any public comments or details about the move, said Mike Cummings, FNCB spokesman.

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