By Cole Parkinson
Concerns are starting to mount in Vauxhall about vacating businesses after one bank branch is set to leave town. With Vauxhall’s CIBC branch closing up shop in the next few months, one of the other banks located in Vauxhall was in council chambers to alleviate any concerns councillors had on the possibility of others following CIBC out of town.
“When news of our other bank in town CIBC leaving, it was the first things that I spoke to with my district Vice President was ‘so what does that look like in our court?’ We are not on any sort of list of leaving town or scaling down operations at the branch, we maintain a full team. We do have a financial advisor on staff in addition to me and we are looking to grow that team specifically in the small business space because of our focus on agriculture. We maintain a full team of tellers, a customer experience lead who is the team lead and manger of tellers. There is no reduction in labour hours coming down the pipe and I am willing to share that willingly because those are signs that we see internally with branches that are on a closure list,” said Kris Hunter, branch manager of the Vauxhall Scotiabank branch. “We are looking to grow not reduce our team nor leave the community.”
With the Vauxhall CIBC branch closing down in March 2018, councillors were nervous about the possibility of losing another bank branch in town.
With the rise of banking with technology rather than going into the bank, they were hoping to get some security that Scotiabank wouldn’t follow suit.
“My biggest concern I guess would be what kind of assurance do we have that hopefully Scotiabank is still running a Vauxhall branch five, 10, 15 years down the road. Is the corporate model consistent with maintaining a branch in a tiny town when everyone is doing online banking,” said Richard Phillips, deputy mayor of Vauxhall. “Nobody’s crystal ball is perfect and that’s an obvious fear.”
While the concerns are hanging above the councillors, they too are among the community of Vauxhall.
“From my perspective as branch manager, I was actually having the same conversation with a customer today. I wouldn’t have moved my family away from Calgary if at any point in the future, without any sort of timetable or agenda to leave Vauxhall, if I had an inkling at all of the branch closing. Further to that, one of the renewed focuses Scotiabank, from a financial institution perspective, is agriculture. It is and will remain to be part of our strategic plan for growth,” said Hunter. “Vauxhall is in the heart of agriculture in southern Alberta. Our commitment to the community and having customers committed to us, there is no reason to leave Vauxhall.”