After nearly six decades in the village, the RBC branch in Apsley, Ont., will be closing next spring.
In an email to CHEX News on Thursday, Scott Mancini, RBC regional vice-president for Kawartha Lakeshore, said effective April 20, 2018, the branch on Burleigh Street will be merging with the branch in Lakefield, about 40 kilometres south.
“Merging the two is the most efficient way for us to continue to serve the community in the future,” said Mancini.
RBC has been serving Apsley for 56 years — the only bank in the community of 2,400 which swells with cottagers during the summer months.
“We’ve been a part of the community for over 56 years and a decision to relocate was not easy and I don’t feel it should be,” said Mancini.
Mancini said one of the main reasons for the closure is the continued decrease of customers using the branch. He says more clients are turning to technology for their banking needs.
“We’ve seen this trend for nearly a decade and this move to using online and other technology is accelerating and we’re changing in response,” he said.
“Let me share that we have never been a company that defines itself by its bricks and mortar but rather by the level of service we provide our clients, the quality of our financial advice, our commitment to the surrounding community, and an authentic passion for our employees.”
Mancini said the staff – who will transfer to Lakefield – were informed of the decision last week and clients were to be informed of the decision next week.
However, news of the closure has started circulating in the village, prompting plenty of negative reaction on social media and the launch of an online petition to save the bank.
“RBC has been a vital part of our Apsley Community for the last 60 years,” wrote Amanda Kaschak-Gray on Facebook who launched the “Stop Apsley RBC Closure” page.
“Having a financial institution in our town is imperative to keeping our town prospering.”
Born and raised in Apsley, Kaschak-Gray says she’s relied on RBC for personal and business banking her entire life and says the closure will impact seniors who can’t or don’t drive, tourists and real estate.
She’s also a former employee at the bank.
“I know firsthand how important the Apsley Branch of RBC is to our community,” she said.
“It angers me that RBC is more concerned with their bottom line then with serving their loyal clients. Where is your loyalty to the Apsley clients and employees who have invested their business with RBC for the last 60 some years?”
Mancini says the bank is reaching out to clients. RBC will be maintaining an ATM in the community and various financial advisors will still be available to meet with clients where most convenient.
“Following the merger, all accounts will automatically be transferred to the Lakefield branch,” he said. “We are open to exploring other ways we can support the community following the merger.”
Mancini encourages clients to visit the branch to discuss their future banking needs.
But Kaschak-Gray says that’s unlikely to continue. The nearest banks — TD Canada Trust, Scotiabank and Kawartha Credit Union — are in Bancroft, about a 30-minute commute north.
“Why should we remain loyal to a business who is not remaining loyal to our community?” she said.
North Kawartha Township councillor Carolyn Amyotte says she’s concerned about fallout.
“I’m worried about the domino effect because if you take away a bank and people have to go elsewhere to bank, then they will go elsewhere to shop or buy their gas or work or live,” she said.
A public meeting to discuss the closure will be held Nov. 2 from 7 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. at the North Kawartha Community Centre.