Banks Are Closed in Hurricane Alerts

Regulators closed banks in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island on Monday as Hurricane Bob header for the New England coast.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston maintained critical operations but let most employees go home. Sporadic power outages in several states disrupted some bank offices, with most institutions saying essential operations were functioning in the late afternoon.

|In the Thick of It'

State regulators ordered banks shut by midday for the approaching storm, which packed winds of 115 miles an hour.

"We're in the thick of it now," Anthony Zehnder, a spokesman for Shawmut National Corp. in Hartford, said early Monday afternoon. "The wind is strong and the rain is driving hard."

Mr. Zehnder said Shawmut's coastal branches had been shut. "We didn't even open the ones on Cape Cod," he said. Several branches in Fairfield County, Conn., had lost power and were flooded.

Sharon Haney, president of the private bank at Bank of Boston Corp., had a clear view of the storm from the 20th floor of the Bank of Boston tower.

"I'm looking over a city in gridlock," said Ms. Heaney at 1 p.m. "I think I'm better off here."

Many other banks on the coast, from New Jersey to Maine, were difficult to reach by phone, because employees had gone home early.

In New York State, most banks on Long Island opted to stay open as the brunt of the storm bypassed them. Robert Kivelson, spokesman for European American Bank, said branches in Hauppauge, Islandia, Riverhead, and Seldon had lost power. Drive-up windows remained open.

Further south, Hurricane Bob caused fewer interruptions that some had anticipated. On the exposed Outer Banks of North Carolina, "our Kill Devil Hills branch opened on time this morning," said Nancy Lovelace, a spokeswoman for First Union Corp. "They reported no damage."

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