The small rural town of Lansdowne in Leeds and the Thousand Islands recently found out their only bank is closing.
The Bank of Montreal’s doors will be shut in October after a 120-year legacy, according to Mayor Joe Baptista.
According to the bank’s media relations officer Ralph Marranca, customer needs are changing. An email to CKWS says in part:
“We’re seeing a growing demand for face-to-face specialized advisory services and at the same time fewer ‘over-the-counter’ transactions.”
The bank plans to keep an ATM in the community but some of the area’s business owners say they need and want more than just a machine to do their banking.
Jeff Lackie owns Lansdowne’s farm supply store and says it’s going to change the way he operates his business.
“It’s probably going to mean carrying more cash on site, which is not always good.”
It’s a similar story for Tricia Donnelly. She and her husband own the Hilltop Coffee Stop.
Donnelly says because her business is primarily done in cash transactions, she goes to the local bank multiple times a week.
“I don’t drive so if I have to go to Gananoque or Brockville, that’s going to be very hard for me.”
Mayor Baptista doesn’t think rural communities are being given a fair shake.
“How they apply their rural lens to their business, I think they need to revisit this decision.”
Baptista says there are two important meetings coming up in early May concerning the bank’s closure.
The first one is a council meeting on May 7, where the council will be discussing the closure and coming up with strategies to convince the Bank of Montreal to change its mind.
On May 8, the Bank of Montreal is hosting a public meeting at the community centre. The mayor is encouraging everyone to turn up.
“Whether you bank with Bank of Montreal or not, I think you should show some community spirit,” said Baptista. “Let’s gather together and make sure that they understand we’re not happy with this decision.”
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