Sco­tia­bank with­draw­ing from La Scie

Com­mu­nity lead­ers and res­i­dents up­set about planned clo­sure

The Central Voice - - Front Page - BY ADAM RAN­DELL

A shift in bank­ing needs is bring­ing about the clo­sure of La Scie’s only fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion.

The Sco­tia­bank branch, which em­ploys three peo­ple and op­er­ates three days per week, will close ef­fec­tive Sept. 18, 2019.

The fate of the three em­ployee po­si­tions is not yet known; Sco­tia­bank says it may be able to ac­com­mo­date the em­ploy­ees at an­other branch.

Krista Ste­wart, com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for Sco­tia­bank’s Cana­dian Bank­ing, in­di­cated, in an email to Cen­tral Voice that on­line and mo­bile bank­ing has had a tremen­dous im­pact on fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in this coun­try.

“We rec­og­nize that not all cus­tomers use dig­i­tal and on­line bank­ing; 80 per cent of trans­ac­tions in Canada now take place out­side the branch,” Ste­wart stated in the email.

In mak­ing the de­ci­sion, Sco­tia­bank says it re­viewed its branch net­work, the num­ber of cus­tomers served in the mar­ket area, and how those cus­tomers are do­ing their bank­ing.

The re­view also con­sid­ered prox­im­ity of the branch to other Sco­tia­bank branches and cus­tomer traf­fic at branches across the mar­ket area.

Claim­ing pri­vacy con­cerns, Sco­tia­bank did not dis­close how many cus­tomers used the La Scie branch.

“Af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of our op­er­a­tions in the La Scie com­mu­nity, we have made the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion that we can­not con­tinue to op­er­ate this branch,” said Ste­wart.

La Scie busi­ness owner Eu­gene Bren­ton told Cen­tral Voice a plan to close out the branch ap­peared to be mo­tion for some time.

“Ev­ery time you’d go to the bank, the tell­ers were re­ally push­ing on­line bank­ing,” he said. “Then they an­nounce the branch clo­sure be­cause foot traf­fic is down; it’s down be­cause they en­cour­aged us to not come.

“Now we’ve got nowhere to go.” Sco­tia­bank also stated it will work with its cus­tomers to as­sist with the tran­si­tion, in­clud­ing host­ing sem­i­nars about on­line bank­ing and other op­tions.

Bur­ton isn’t sold on the idea, as not ev­ery res­i­dent is tech­no­log­i­cally savvy and likely won’t em­brace the on­line ap­proach.

As a re­sult, he said, they will be forced to travel to Baie Verte, some 60 kilo­me­tres away, to visit a bank.

He pre­dicts the bank clo­sure will have a tremen­dous im­pact on the La Scie’s econ­omy.

“The rou­tine is to cash the cheque, pay the bills, buy gro­ceries, get gas and so forth,” he said. “What hap­pens when that cheque has to be cashed in Baie Verte, that money gets spent in Baie Verte.”

Fur­ther­more, he said, daily or near-daily busi­ness de­posits will re­quire ex­ten­sive travel.

La Scie mayor Kim­ber­ley Moorey share’s Bur­ton’s con­cerns. She said the town is cur­rently look­ing for an­other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion to set up shop.

Moorey feels res­i­dents will make the jump to an­other bank, if one can be es­tab­lished lo­cally.

Cur­rently, a com­mit­tee is be­ing formed to see what would be re­quired of the town to make that hap­pen.

“It will take some time to get things in place, re­views, stats and go through the process, but it’s def­i­nitely some­thing we are pur­su­ing,” she said. “If we can’t re­place Sco­tia­bank with an­other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion it’s go­ing to be big set­back for the town.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The Sco­tia­bank branch, which em­ploys three peo­ple and op­er­ates three days per week, will close ef­fec­tive Sept. 18, 2019. La Scie mayor Kim­ber­ley Moorey said the town is cur­rently look­ing for an­other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion to set up shop.

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