Dozens gather at Avonmore Scotiabank

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Dozens of residents in Avonmore gathered to protest the closure of the Scotiabank branch in their village.

Several dozen Avonmore residents gathered in front of their Scotiabank branch Sunday, vowing to fight to keep the branch open.

Residents in Avonmore, as well as others in Maxville and St. Isidore, are upset that their bank branches are up for possible closure.

"By closing Avonmore branch, the bank will only be making matters worse -  because it is clear that 85 per cent of its customers here will pull their accounts and quit Scotiabank entirely if it moves out," Murray Barkley, owner of the venerable Barkley's store, told the crowd that gathered. "We certainly would not do this by choice, because if the bank stays, I'm sure its customer retention would be very close to 100 per cent."

Townhall-type meetings have taken place, and residents have written letters and called bank officials to lobby to keep the branches open.

The plan is to centralize all banking at a new branch being built in Cassleman.

"We are showing our community solidarity, standing up together and trying to be heard in Toronto," said Andy Boyle, another speaker at the rally. "We need to continue working together, to build our support, by encouraging involvement, sharing our personal situations with the media and the images of our struggle."

Protesters, about 150, in Avonmore Sunday said they want Scotiabank officials to listen to their demands, and consider the fact that many people would have to drive an hour or more to bank in Casselman.

A decision by Scotiabank is expected in the next few weeks.

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