Huntington Banks to stop taking property tax payments
By Burton Speakman
Starting in just a few weeks, Huntington National Bank no longer will accept property-tax or utility payments at its branches.
Those payments, beginning Sept. 1, will have to be made online or in person at the various county treasurers’ offices or utility companies, according to a statement from William Either, vice president of regional public relations for Huntington.
“Huntington regularly reviews its products and services and makes adjustments to ensure we continue to meet our customers’ overall evolving banking needs,” the statement said. “Our goal is to provide all of our customers with convenience and dedicated, personalized service.”
Customers can use Huntington’s online bill-pay service to pay those bills electronically, Eiler added.
Huntington was the largest of the area banks that accepted tax payments, said Dan Yemma, Mahoning County treasurer. He estimates the bank took about 26,000 to 28,000 payments during each tax cycle. Other smaller area banks still accept property-tax payments.
“This is going to impact a lot of people,” Yemma said. “The people who do this are ones who want to make a payment in person and wouldn’t even mail the payments in, not to mention making a payment online.”
The county is a huge depositor with Huntington, Yemma said.
“It was disappointing the way this was done,” he said. “We didn’t really discuss the issue. We were informed about their decision.”
The treasurer’s office cannot make the decision on its own to pull the county’s deposits from Huntington based on the bank’s decision, but it is a discussion that should happen, Yemma said.
Accepting property-tax payments was not something that made a profit for the banks or the county, he said.
“In fact, it means more work for the county,” Yemma said. “It is a service to the taxpayer.”
Sam Lamancusa, Trumbull County treasurer, is not as concerned about the issue and continues to work with the bank.
The county is working with Huntington to develop an online processing system for tax bills, Lamancusa said.
In Trumbull, Huntington processes about 20,000 property-tax receipts for each billing period, Lamancusa said.
It’s understandable that there might be some senior citizens who will be impacted by the change, he said. In Trumbull, the treasurer’s office will continue to process tax bills on the second floor as well as accept them through drop boxes both inside and outside of the building.
“I know there are some people who just want to take care of it in person to get that stamped receipt,” Lamancusa said.
The treasurer’s office also will send a stamped receipt to those who pay by mail as long as they send the full bill and a self-addressed, stamped envelope, he said.
“It will cost a person 90 cents. You can’t drive here for 90 cents,” Lamancusa added.