Scotiabank withdrawing from La Scie
Community leaders and residents upset about planned closure
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.”
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.