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Only bank in Grand Manan, N.B. closes up despite efforts of residents

Click to play video: 'Grand Manan Island’s only bank closes'
Grand Manan Island’s only bank closes
WATCH: The Scotiabank in Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick has shut down, despite public protests and lobbying efforts that made it all the way to Parliament Hill. Robert Lothian reports on the island’s only bank’s final day – Aug 24, 2022

The people of the remote community on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick said good-bye to their only bank on Wednesday morning.

The Scotiabank branch has closed up shop after 100 years of service.

“I am the island lawyer and the closure of Scotiabank is going to affect me both personally and professionally. I came to say goodbye to the staff, who’ve been incredible,” said Norah Davidson.

Read more: Grand Manan mayor leaves ‘positive’ meeting with Ottawa as bank closure looms

In recent months, residents pulled out all the stops to keep the bank, staging protests and making trips to Ottawa.

“We know that we’ve done everything that we could do and while it didn’t produce definitive results, at least we have checked that box and we have made every effort we could to make sure we have some sort of financial services on the island,” said Mayor Bonnie Morse.

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But it didn’t work.

Travelling to the next nearest branch is no simple task, and will force residents into a 90-minute ferry ride, a $50 ticket and a drive to St. George, N.B.

That’s a troubling thought for the 2,400 people who live in the community, many of whom are seniors.

“They haven’t been actively seeking out business opportunities that are here for them and they’re quite willing to close in favour of sending everyone to the mainland,” said Davidson.

Residents have tried in vain to save the bank. Robert Lothian/Global News

A shift to going online is a key focus for Scotiabank.

In a statement to Global News, the bank said it has “continued to work with the community of Grand Manan to ensure a smooth transition and help educate customers on alternative ways of banking.”

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“We have also made a donation towards creating a digital café to ensure those who might not have regular internet access at home have access to all these services,” the statement continued.

Click to play video: 'Grand Manan, N.B. mayor meets with feds over losing last bank'
Grand Manan, N.B. mayor meets with feds over losing last bank

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