After more than 56 years, the Apsley branch of Royal Bank of Canada will be closing.
kawarthaNOW learned of the pending closure of the RBC branch at 135 Burleigh Street in Apsley yesterday (October 4) after news leaked on social media, shocking local residents.
After kawarthaNOW broke the story, Scott Mancini, regional vice-president of RBC Kawartha-Lakeshore region, confirmed to the media the branch will close on April 20, 2018.
It will be merged with the next closest RBC branch at 50 Queen Street in Lakefield, located around 40 kilometres south of Apsley.
Employees at the Apsley branch, who were advised of the decision last week, will be tranferred to the Lakefield branch.
Clients at the Apsley branch will receive a formal letter about the decision to close the branch next week. Any client accounts remaining at the Apsley branch will be transferred to Lakefield when the merger happens.
RBC says it will maintain an ATM in Apsley, in addition to one located in Bancroft. ScotiaBank, TD Canada Trust, and Kawartha Credit Union also have branches in Bancroft — all of which are about a 30-minute drive from Apsley.
Apsley has a year-round population of around 2,400 people, but the area includes many thousands of seasonal residents who own cottages on the surrounding lakes.
Apsley resident Amanda Kaschak-Gray, who shared the news about the closure on Facebook yesterday (October 4), has since created a Facebook group called Stop Apsley RBC Closure!. As of the time and date of this update, the group has 200 members.
She has also created an online petition Save Apsley RBC, which has 117 signatures as of the time and date of this update.
Carolyn Ball, a councillor with North Kawartha Township and operator of Eels Lake Marina north of Apsley, is supporting efforts to save the Apsley branch.
“Unlike large urban areas and cities where there is a ‘veritable plethora’ of financial institutions, shutting down the only bank in Apsley for over 50 years is a terrible blow to our community,,” she wrote on Facebook. “Whether you are a seasonal or permanent resident and whether you bank there or not, this will negatively affect all of us who love to be here.”
The situation in Apsley reflects a continuting trend among all major banks to close branches in smaller communities, forcing customers who wish to bank in person to travel to larger centres. In Saskachewan, 20 rural bank branches in 2017 are closing.
In August 2017, Royal Bank announced the closure of 25 branches mainly in city centres across Canada. RBC attributed those closures to increasing customer reliance of online banking.
TD Canada Trust announced the closure of the only bank in Millbrook in August, merging with a branch in Peterborough.
RBC reported nearly $2.8 billion of profit for its fiscal third quarter this past summer.