Most San Antonio-area bank, credit union branches open for Juneteenth
Frost Bank, the largest regional bank based in Texas, didn’t have enough time to provide adequate notice to close branches to observe the new federal holiday — Juneteenth, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden Thursday. Pictured is the Frost Bank Tower in downtown San Antonio. Banks and credit unions close for federal holidays, but many will keep their branches open as the country commemorates Juneteenth as a national holiday for the first time. President Joe Biden signed legislation Thursday afternoon making Juneteenth National Independence Day the country’s 12th national holiday. That wasn’t enough notice for many financial institutions to mark the holiday by closing either today or Saturday. It’s likely many will observe the new holiday beginning next year. BBVA USA, a national bank with about 20 branches in the San Antonio area, said it is closing its branches and corporate offices at 1 p.m. today in observance of Juneteenth — which is Saturday. BBVA was the only institution out of about a dozen contacted by the Express-News to confirm it will recognize the new holiday by closing. The rest will remain open today and Saturday. June 19 is the anniversary of the end of slavery in 1865, when news of the Emancipation Proclamation was delivered to the last enslaved Americans in Galveston. BBVA’s decision to close early today is noteworthy because Pittsburgh’s PNC Bank, which recently acquired the Birmingham, Ala.-based institution in an $11.6 billion deal, is keeping its branches and offices open for Juneteenth. The federal government is observing the holiday today, so most federal employees will get the day off. That includes bank regulators with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve Board in Washington. Employees with the Federal Reserve in Dallas aren’t so lucky. It’s open today. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which also regulates banks, encouraged institutions to inform customers of their plans on whether to close as soon as possible. “Given the timing, institutions are encouraged to consider the convenience and needs of their customers when making these decisions,” the FDIC said in a statement. Frost Bank, the largest regional bank based in San Antonio, will be open today and Saturday. “We just don’t have enough time to do the adequate notifications” to close, Frost spokesman Bill Day said Thursday. The Texas Department of Banking, which oversees state-chartered banks, will be open today even though Juneteenth has been a state holiday for more than 40 years. Banks usually set their holiday schedule at the beginning of each year, usually following the holidays observed by the Federal Reserve System, said Charles Cooper, commissioner of the state banking agency. “Banks technically have the ability to observe this new holiday today or Monday, but since it just became law on June 17, banks have to take into consideration adequate notice to their customers,” he said. San Antonio’s Security Service Federal Credit Union also follows the Federal Reserve’s calendars, so the San Antonio institution will be open today and Saturday. The same goes for Credit Human Federal Credit Union. “Once the Federal Reserve adjusts its schedule to reflect the new federal holiday, we will do the same,” Security Service spokeswoman Brandy Ralston-Lint said in an email. Chase Bank branches will remain open Saturday even though Juneteenth falls on that day because “a significant number of customers who can’t make it in during weekdays depend on Saturday branch access as an essential service,” spokesman Greg Hassell said in an email. San Antonio-based Vantage Bank Texas’s branches will operate on their regular schedules today and Saturday. “We will determine later this year how to adjust our schedule to reflect the new federal holiday in the years to come,” spokesman Alex Polanco said in an email. Live Oak’s Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union also will operate its usual schedule today and Saturday. It’s observing the holiday with educational videos and potluck dishes at branches for staff, spokesman Salvador Guerrero said in an email. Many institutions, including Chase and Wells Fargo, are providing employees with an an additional personal day or floating holiday to take sometime this year. “Our branches and operations centers will remain open as usual following their normal schedules,” Wells Fargo spokeswoman Beth Richek said in an email. “As a company, we will observe Juneteenth as a federal holiday starting next year.” Day, the Frost Bank spokesman, said it is encouraging employees who are able to use one of their two “paid community-days off” to volunteer in the community. “We think Juneteenth would be an appropriate time for them to use one of those,” he added.