CORNWALL, Ontario – Avonmore residents have been left pondering what’s next after Scotiabank announced plans Tuesday to shutter their facility in the North Stormont village.
Terry McRae of Avonmore told Seaway News the community is “extremely” disappointed with the move to consolidate the branch with another in Chesterville.
While nothing specific has been decided, he anticipated many in Avonmore will leave Scotiabank altogether. The closest bank to Avonmore is a Bank of Montreal facility in nearby Finch.
“The Bank of Montreal would be wise to bring on some more staff,” McRae said. “(The Scotiabank decision) is demeaning to the customers here.”
Scotiabank announced a slew of changes to its rural banking landscape.
The bank’s Maxville branch will remain open, which should please residents in that community who protested along with Avonmore to keep facilities open.
Avonmore will see its branch close, and consolidated in Chesterville by next April.
A Scotiabank branch in St-Isidore will be consolidated with a new facility in Casselman by next January,
Scotiabank also said Tuesday full service banking machines will be installed in St-Isidore and Avonmore, and customers in Avonmore will have customer service representatives visit the community, but only once every two weeks to handle basic banking needs.
“We always said that we were holding town halls to listen to the community and that’s what we did,” said Karine Abgrall, Scotiabank District Vice-President for the region. “By doing so we gained some additional insight into each community and have altered our plans to better fulfill the needs of our customers.”
But McRae was having none of it, suggesting sending representatives down every two weeks is a “token” meant to appease some seniors who can’t get around as easily as others.
“They’ve dressed it up to suggest that we’ve won some things,” said McRae. “They’re not moving us anywhere. I’d be surprised if anyone goes at all.”
McRae said residents in Avonmore will likely take the next few weeks to digest the news before considering another move to keep the branch open.
But he also conceded any plan now is likely a long shot.