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RBC to shut Jardins Rosemère location by June 3

Create: 04/04/2016 - 20:56

Unless head office at RBC has an incredible last-minute change of heart, the bank will be permanently closing its Jardins Rosemère branch on June 3.
And if that happens, a good number of the branch’s more than 9,000 holders of personal accounts may choose to follow one client’s advice given last week: he said they should transfer their lucrative accounts to other financial institutions to protest what he said is RBC’s inconsiderate and impersonal treatment.
RBC says change inevitable
Diane Jacob, RBC’s regional vice-president for Laval/Laurentians, tried to reassure RBC’s Rosemère clients (who accepted an invitation to a meeting on March 22 at the Jardins Rosemère branch on Grande Côte Rd.) that the closing is largely the result of global conditions where change has become the norm.
She said this to a gathering of around 100 mostly senior account holders who have long been used to doing their banking inside a branch with human tellers, rather than in any of the technologically-advanced ways now available.
Regardless, Jacob couldn’t conceal the fact that, based on a declining viability of the Jardins Rosemère branch, RBC has no intention of keeping it open and existing accounts will be transferred to the RBC branch at 370 Labelle Blvd. near Autoroute 640. This will end RBC’s presence in the centre of Rosemère where there has been an RBC branch since 1957.
Fewer branch clients
Jacob maintained that up to 90 per cent of RBC’s current clients visit a branch less than three times per year because they do their banking by other means, and that even Automated Teller Machine use has dropped by 10 per cent in the past six years. “These are significant trends that we must adjust and adapt to,” she said.
According to Jacob, client traffic at Jardins Rosemère dropped by seven per cent per year in recent years while ATM transactions are down 43 per cent since 2008. All the same, it was evident as she introduced several of the Jardins Rosemère branch staff members (some of whom have been there up to 17 years) that the clients are bound to miss the old branch regardless of what corporate headquarters says.
New branch criticized
According to longtime Jardins Rosemère branch user Carla Young, clients were assured approximately eight years ago when the Labelle Blvd. branch was built that Jardins Rosemère would remain open. In an e-mail to the North Shore News, she said the Labelle location is inaccessible to certain segments of the population who don’t drive and that it’s considered dangerous because of the traffic along Labelle Blvd. heading onto the A640.
She also suggested that many loyal customers, especially seniors, aren’t comfortable with the exit from the newer branch onto Labelle, that they have said they would have to drive north on Labelle to Ste-Thérèse and return to Rosemère via a circuitous route that could be an 8-10 kilometer detour, and that because the Labelle/640 location has no sidewalks, crossings are extremely dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. She noted that children certainly could not cycle to the bank as they do now at Jardins Rosemère.
Seniors being ‘let down’
“You sit in the heart of a retirement community,” Dave Hemens, one of the younger clients present at the meeting, noted. “Me, I do banking everywhere. I do banking electronically. But the people in this community don’t do it this way. They primarily do it face to face in a trusted manner.
“The problem is you have wonderful employees here, but you’re moving them out of the range of the people who will use them,” he continued. “They can’t make it out there. It sounds from my perspective that RBC built the branch down near the mall and now is justifying the bill by moving everything over there when this is the heart of the community ... The ones whom this branch most serves are being the most let down by the move and that’s problem we face.”
Says clients should close accounts
A Jardins Rosemère client who identified himself as Kashmir suggested that unless RBC reverses its decision to shut the branch, “then we will all of us promise today that we will take our business from Royal Bank completely out and go to some other bank. We will take everything from Royal Bank and that will show them that we have some power left, or at least they will miss us.”

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Martin C. Barry