After RBC branch closed last year, removal of machine was anticipated
BY JOHN CHICK
Special to the VOICE
The imminent removal of Fenwick’s last traditional automatic teller machine (ATM) has been more than a year in the making, but that doesn’t mean things are any easier for residents who use it.
“It’s just another thing,” said longtime resident Phillis Clark. “First they take away our post office, now this.”
The old Fenwick post office closed several years ago, with Canada Post instead opening a kiosk inside the adjacent Avondale store.
RBC, which closed its physical bank branch on Canboro Road at Maple Street last year, told residents at the time that the ATM would likely only remain temporarily before the building was redeveloped. Yet the banking giant also said the machine has seen reduced usage since the branch itself closed.
“Due to declining ATM traffic in Fenwick, I can confirm we’re removing the ATM located on Canboro Road,” Heather Colquhoun, Senior Manager of Regional Communications at RBC told the Voice.
“The next closest ATM will be located in Fonthill. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we remain committed to working with all our clients to ensure they have banking solutions that work for them.”
Over the weekend, a message on the machine’s screen said that its plug would be pulled on May 3.
The drive to the Fonthill branch at Highway 20 and Station Street isn’t appealing to Clark, who cited busy traffic on 20.
“Our only other [Fenwick ATM] option now is the one that charges $2.50,” she said.
This is a private machine located inside the same Avondale on Canboro that houses the Canada Post outlet. Because it’s not a bank-owned ATM, usage fees are higher —in this case $2.50 per transaction. Some private operators charge up to $5 for transactions.
When RBC announced the closure of the branch in December 2017, an executive with the bank told the Voice that, “technology is changing people’s banking habits.”
Ward 1 Councillor Mike Ciolfi said he was disappointed.
“I do think that it is important that we at least have a bank machine in Fenwick,” he said, “especially for the seniors and migrant workers that can not drive into Fonthill.”
Ward 1’s other representative, Councillor Marianne Stewart, whose former sub-shop-turned-bakery was next to the bank for several years, laments the bank and ATM’s departure.
“It was bad enough to lose face-to-face banking services,” said Stewart, “but to be left with nothing is like a slap in the face. So many in the community depended on the bank, not just for day-to-day service, but for loans and investments.”
Stewart said that as the community grows with the inevitable development on the horizon, a local banking option is important. It’s also important for those living here only temporarily.
“We have so many migrant workers in our community who were able to set up their accounts for the year, then be able to do their banking independently by coming into town on their bicycles. Now it puts a larger burden on their employers to take them to Fonthill, or elsewhere, to get their banking services—and not necessarily at RBC. I do understand that the bank is a business, and the object is to make money, but it feels like a heartless decision.”