‘Not good news for any­body’

Hantsport Sco­tia­bank branch to shut its doors in 2019, move ac­counts to Wind­sor

Valley Journal Advertiser - - NEWS - BY COLIN CHISHOLM WWW.HANTSJOURNAL.CA

The Hantsport Sco­tia­bank branch’s fi­nal day of busi­ness will be May 23, 2019, as they move their op­er­a­tions to Wind­sor.

All ex­ist­ing ac­counts at the branch will au­to­mat­i­cally be moved to the Wind­sor branch on Wa­ter Street.

Krista Stewart, a me­dia rep­re­sen­ta­tive from Sco­tia­bank, said the com­pany has de­cided to close the branch be­cause of chang­ing cus­tomer needs and pref­er­ences, such as an in­creas­ing use of on­line and mo­bile bank­ing.

“We rec­og­nize that not all cus­tomers use dig­i­tal and on­line bank­ing, but 80 per cent of trans­ac­tions in Canada now take place out­side the branch,” Stewart said in an emailed state­ment.

Stewart said the com­pany reg­u­larly reviews their branch net­work, tak­ing into ac­count the num­ber of cus­tomers they serve in the mar­ket area, and the way those cus­tomers are do­ing their bank­ing.

The re­view in­cludes things like prox­im­ity to other branches and cus­tomer traf­fic.

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

Sco­tia­bank has been op­er­at­ing in the com­mu­nity of Hantsport since 1951.

Sco­tia­bank as a whole is quite healthy, ac­cord­ing to a re­cently quar­terly re­port wherein com­pany pres­i­dent and CEO Brian Porter said earn­ings com­pa­ny­wide were up nine per cent.

Stewart couldn’t say if any Sco­tia­bank em­ploy­ees would be laid off due to the clo­sure, adding that the com­pany would work with all staff dur­ing the tran­si­tion.

“We hope that most of the team from the Hantsport branch will move to the Wind­sor branch,” she said. “For in­di­vid­u­als who do not make the move to the Wind­sor branch, ev­ery ef­fort will be made to iden­tify al­ter­nate em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties within Sco­tia­bank.”

Stewart said there are no plans to ex­pand the Wind­sor branch at this time, as it is “ready to as­sist cus­tomers with their banks needs.”

How­ever, fol­low­ing the con­sol­i­da­tion, the Wind­sor branch will in­crease their op­er­at­ing hours.

Val­ley Credit Union ready for po­ten­tial in­flux

Len Ells, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Val­ley Credit Union, which op­er­ates seven branches from Hantsport to Bridgetown, said he was sad­dened to learn that Sco­tia­bank was clos­ing the Hantsport branch, adding that the Credit Union will as­sist those wish­ing to move their ac­counts over.

“The clo­sure of the Bank of Nova Sco­tia (in Hantsport) is not good news for any­body,” Ells said. “Our in­ten­tion isn’t to try to cap­i­tal­ize on the mis­for­tune of oth­ers, but to cre­ate aware­ness and pro­vide ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties with in­for­ma­tion on what we do and our in­tent to re­main in these com­mu­ni­ties.”

Ells said they’ve in­creased their com­mer­cial team’s pres­ence in Hantsport, drop­ping in to see ex­ist­ing small busi­ness mem­bers and po­ten­tial new clients.

“We’ve reached out to a num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als as well, many have con­tacted us by email ask­ing about what ser­vices we pro­vide,” he said.

“When you look at ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, much of the con­cern is with small busi­ness own­ers, who would need to go to another com­mu­nity for cash and coin and other ser­vices they may need,” he said. “Also, on the se­nior side, many are not very mo­bile and per­haps don’t have their own trans­porta­tion, so go­ing out­side their own com­mu­nity for bank­ing ser­vices can be a chal­lenge for some.”

Ells said Hantsport’s Credit Union has seen an in­crease in foot traf­fic “from the minute it was an­nounced” that Sco­tia­bank was clos­ing.

“From a staffing stand­point, we’re mak­ing sure folks who are com­ing in are be­ing looked af­ter,” he said, adding that they aren’t plan­ning to add on more staff or look into a big­ger space at this time.

He added that the Val­ley Credit Union will also con­tinue to sup­port Hantsport non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions, such as the Hantsport His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and West Hants Search and Res­cue.

“We be­lieve that we are an im­por­tant con­trib­u­tor to com­mu­ni­ties and the lo­cal econ­omy by be­ing there and as­sist­ing small busi­nesses and peo­ple to meet their own fi­nan­cial needs and goals and do­ing it with lo­cal money,” he said. “The money that we have in de­posits stays in those com­mu­ni­ties and gets (loaned) out to lo­cal small busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als.”

The Val­ley Credit Union will be hold­ing a ‘meet and greet’ at Churchill House on Dec. 5 for those who are in­ter­ested in learn­ing more about their prod­ucts and ser­vices.

Lo­cals wor­ried

Rob­bie Zwicker, Hantsport’s coun­cil­lor and for­mer mayor, said he’s dis­ap­pointed that the Sco­tia­bank branch is leav­ing Main Street.

“I am hop­ing any­one who wishes to con­tinue bank­ing in per­son in Hantsport will visit the Val­ley Credit Union,” Zwicker said. “VCU has stepped up big time to sup­port our com­mu­nity.”

“I hope some­one takes ad­van­tage of the great lo­ca­tion Sco­tia­bank has in Hantsport, who knows maybe VCU will move in,” he added.

Jane Kerr, a res­i­dent of Hantsport and client of the Sco­tia­bank branch, said she’s con­cerned for the el­derly mem­bers of the com­mu­nity who will have to com­mute to do their bank­ing.

“Our mortgage and stuff is through there, we got our camper through there, my hus­band has a chequing ac­count there,” Kerr said. “It’s un­for­tu­nate, there’s a lot of el­derly res­i­dents in Hantsport, where it’s re­ally con­ve­nient to have a bank right next door to the gro­cery store.”

“It’s not so bad for peo­ple who are go­ing into Wind­sor all the time, but for the older gen­er­a­tion it’s go­ing to a be a pain for them,” she said.

Kerr, who is also a board mem­ber of the Hantsport Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, said she’s also wor­ried about a po­ten­tial re­duc­tion in com­mu­nity fundrais­ing.

“I al­ready bank at the Credit Union my­self any­way, but all of our big ac­counts are through Sco­tia­bank,” she said. “Right now, I guess the plan is to stay with Sco­tia­bank for now, but we have talked about switch­ing our ac­counts to the Credit Union, where they’re right in town.”

Af­ter talk­ing with her neigh­bours, Kerr said she wouldn’t be sur­prised if many Hantsport Sco­tia­bank clients move their ac­counts to the Val­ley Credit Union.

COLIN CHISHOLM

The Hantsport Sco­tia­bank branch is slated to close on May 23, 2019. The com­pany has had a pres­ence in the com­mu­nity since 1951.

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