Wilberforce Scotiabank to close

By Jenn Watt

June 21 2016

Scotiabank’s branches in Wilberforce and Maynooth will be closing as of January with operations consolidating in the Bancroft branch.

Customers’ preference for online and mobile banking have forced the company to make changes spokesperson Heather Armstrong said.

“Eighty per cent of transactions in Canada now take place outside the branch” Armstrong said in an interview with the Echo .

Scotiabank decided it needed to close the two small branches after a review of the market which took into account the number of customers using the facilities and the way they do their banking.

“And after careful consideration of operations in both Wilberforce and Maynooth communities we’ve made the difficult decision that we’re going to consolidate those branches into our branch in Bancroft” Armstrong said.

That consolidation will take place Jan. 19 2017.

Staff were informed of the change on Tuesday June 14. There are six staff at the Wilberforce branch and three at the Maynooth location.

“We very much hope that many of them [the staff] will make the transition to the Bancroft branch with us” she said noting that for those who do not the bank will “assist them with finding alternative employment within Scotiabank.”

Customers will be receiving letters in the mail about the change advising them of upcoming town-hall-style meetings in Wilberforce and Maynooth July 11 and 12 respectively. Information on the meetings will also be available at the branches.

“While we’re not making the change until January we’re telling staff and customers now in order to give them as much notice as possible so that we can assist them with this transition” Armstrong said.

Highlands East Reeve Dave Burton called the announcement “a slap in the face” and said the municipality has contacted the local MP and MPP to work on the issue.

“What I’m being asked to do now is they want everyone to go to Bancroft and I have a lot of seniors here that don’t do online banking and don’t drive. It’s going to be pretty difficult” he said.

Burton said he was informed of the closure on Wednesday and that councillors and local businesses will be having a community meeting to talk about what to do on Tuesday June 28 at 7 p.m. at the Lloyd Watson Centre.

Not only will a bank closure affect customers it will hurt the village’s economy Burton said.

“We’re trying to develop and bring people in” he said.

Agnew’s General Store owner Mary Barker said she was “devastated” to hear the news last week.

“It’s going to hurt our town our community big time” she said.

Barker said there is already plenty of talk around town about Scotiabank’s decision and that people are brainstorming how to keep them here and also what might take their place.

“Anyone that I’ve spoken to has really liked the idea of Kawartha Credit Union coming in. That would be nice if they did” she said.

Armstrong said Scotiabank is aware of the inconvenience of the closure and will be working to assist customers with the change.

Hours at the Bancroft branch will be extended and they will be opening on Saturdays as well.

Wilberforce’s Scotiabank branch opened in 1969. Maynooth’s opened in 1980.