PONTIAC – In a letter dated October 14, Stephane Therrien, President of Laurentian Bank Financial Services, communicated with the municipalities affected by the closure of Laurentian Bank branches (Campbell’s Bay and Fort-Coulonge) as well as the MRC Pontiac. The letter stated changing needs of clients and the popularity of electronic banking as reasons behind the closures.
Therrien confirmed the two Pontiac branches will be amalgamated with the branch in the Plateau area of Hull where Pontiac customers will have to travel to have access to counter services. “Even if we are merging our branches, we will continue to serve our clients through different platforms. We are currently analyzing alternatives … Our clients use technology more and more when
it comes to doing their banking. Therefore, we will work with and support them in that manner,” said Hélène Soulard, Laurentian Assistant Vice President of Communications via an email.
“The decision to merge these two branches with the one in Le Plateau was difficult to make. We understand the local impact, but it is sadly our only option to ensure the continuity of our services to your municipality and MRC Pontiac,” stated the letter, indicating bank managers are currently preparing “a transition plan to minimize the impact”.
The letter also said the Bank intends to implement solutions and alternatives to continue their business relationship with the MRC Pontiac, who is a client.
During the last Council of Mayors meeting, October 18, Council made a resolution that was sent to the Laurentian Bank during the week of October 24 voicing their strong opposition to the closing of both branches. According to Danielle Belec, MRC Pontiac Communication Officer, a response has not yet been received.
“The issue was discussed at length during [the November 8] Plenary Committee meeting. The committee reiterated its opposition to the bank’s decision to close both branches, and as a customer, the MRC has no intention of travelling to the Gatineau branch for services,” said Belec, indicating some form of “yet to be determined” protest activities will likely take place near the end of November.
The Laurentian Bank emphasized local employees will have access to accommodations either for relocation, retirement or other avenues as provided in their employment and collective contracts. “The reduction of positions through natural attrition will comply with collective agreements or employment contracts,” said Soulard.
The official closing date for both branches is set for June 30, 2017 and according to Soulard, the Laurentian Bank is “currently evaluating possibilities regarding the buildings housing our branches”.