Scotiabank hosting public meeting in South Mountain

The only bank on Bank Street in South Mountain is being consolidated with a branch 21 kilometres away in Kemptville. Scotiabank will be host a meeting regarding the changes on January 29th at the Agricultural Hall in South Mountain. (The Leader/Comfort photo)

SOUTH MOUNTAIN – News of the potential closure of the South Mountain Scotiabank branch is hitting this small rural community hard. People are planning to tell bank officials how that decision will have an effect on them when the bank hosts a public meeting January 29th.

Scheduling a public meeting when a bank is closing is mandated by the Bank Act.

Scotiabank customers have been told that Scotiabank is “relocating its services from South Mountain to Collonade Drive in Kemptville,” which is 21 km away. The consolidation date is June 18, 2020.

Jeremy Fraleigh, a South Mountain Scotiabank customer started an online petition against the planned “relocation of services”

Concerning the upcoming meeting which will take place January 29, 6 p.m. at the Mountain Agricultural Hall in South Moutain, Fraleigh told The Leader: “We are hoping that Scotiabank gives us truthful answers about why they are closing our branch.”

“We have supported this branch for decades and the way they are handling the closure upsets a lot of residents and businesses.”

Scotiabank is advertising this meeting as: “a town hall to meet the management team of our Kemptville branch and discuss how we can support customers and the community through this transition.”

Fraleigh is looking forward to a respectful meeting where information can be shared.

“Our main hope is that they don’t close the branch, but in reality, they may choose to close it anyways.”

But with respectful discussion, perhaps some compromise can be reached.

Perhaps a full service Automated Banking Machine could remain at the branch location, is among Fraleigh’s suggestions.

He encourages those affected by the closure to attend next Wednesday’s meeting. “We have the right to share our feelings with Scotiabank and they should hear our opinions. Honestly, Scotiabank has all the power to keep the branch open or close it. But, if we ask the right questions or offer good proposals, perhaps we can make them see things from our side,” says Fraleigh.

If the South Mountain branch closes, Fraleigh and the South Mountain company he works for intend to switch banks. “Why should Scotiabank be rewarded for taking our branch away?”

“If we have to be inconvenienced by travelling, we can choose to go to another bank.”

In 2017, according to Bloomberg News, Scotiabank was undertaking a two year strategy to cut five per cent of its branches in a digital shift.

In 2018, Scotiabank closed 20 branches due to consolidation and one-quarter of those consolidated were rural branches. A similar number of rural branches were closed in 2019. Along with South Mountain, Beachburg will also lose its branch this year.

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