ST. LAWRENCE, N.L.
The Town of St. Lawrence is exploring banking options for residents.
Currently, the only banking service in the town is an ABM (automated banking machine) belonging to Scotiabank.
And it doesn’t always work, according to town officials.
Recently the machine was not operational for approximately one month.
“That bank machine has caused a lot of grief in this town—it’s caused a lot of grief for us councilors as well,” Mayor Paul Pike said during the Nov. 6 council meeting.
Pike had made inquiries to a local bank about providing service to the town.
“We’re going to have to try and get somebody to come in, and then let people know who it is,” he explained to council, “because, say we get the union bank (for example) there’s no such thing, but the union bank comes in (then), most people will probably want to switch to that bank.”
Coun. Amanda Slaney added that not only is it an inconvenience to the people of the town, “when you have people come (to town) with teams it’s embarrassing.”
Scotiabank had a branch in the town up until 2001 when the bank closed. The closest available branch after that was about 30 minutes away in Burin, which closed in 2017. That means now the closest Scotiabank branch is in Marystown, approximately an hour away.
During the meeting, it was suggested that the town put it out to the public to see if residents would be willing to switch to a different bank if one did come to the community, “cause if not they’re still going to be charged (withdraw) charges the same as their going to the store (for cashback) and getting charged,” said town manager Andrea Kettle.
“A lot of from here, Lawn and up the shore use that machine,” she added. “It's not just people St. Lawrence.”
Pike feels it would be a benefit to a bank to come into the community.
“Let’s say they came in here and picked up 100 customers, and they would, it’s big business, that’s big business,” he said.
A representative from Scotiabank confirmed in an e-mail to The Southern Gazette that the ABM was offline and unable to successfully complete transactions from Oct. 5-28.
Sheena Riviera, senior manager, Canadian Banking Communications, Scotiabank
explained in the e-mail that Scotiabank was notified through their automated alert system about unsuccessful ABM attempts on Friday, Oct. 5.
“We began our work to resolve it and scheduled a maintenance visit on the next business day,” she noted. “That fell on Tuesday, Oct. 9, due to the Thanksgiving long weekend.”
Following the initial service visit new parts were ordered for the machine and a second repair was scheduled for Oct. 17 after the delivery of the new parts.
“As an outcome of the second visit it was determined that more parts were required to successfully fix the ABM,” according to Riviera. “The ABM was brought back online on Oct. 28, and since then it has been operating with no issues.”
Riviera wrote, “We strive to ensure that our products and services are available to our customers when they need them, sometimes delays cannot be avoided, and we apologize for any inconvenience experienced by our customers.
She added that Scotiabank monitors ABMs daily and have automated alerting in place to notify them when an ABM is offline or requires maintenance, with automated dispatch to the ABM Service Team. They also receive customer feedback through the Scotiabank ABM Operations Team mailbox.