Bank closure upsets McLennan council

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The imminent closure of the McLennan ATB branch in a few months has McLennan town council wondering what happened.
Just eight months ago on June 14, 2021, a delegation of three from ATB attended council’s meeting and reassured them the bank was committed to remaining open in the town.
Council released a news release Feb. 4 expressing concerns.
“The Town of McLennan received notification on Wednesday, Feb. 2 that the ATB branch in McLennan will be closed permanently to the public at noon on May 12.”
Council says it was unaware ATB’s action was being considered. The news release alluded to the June 14 meeting regarding random branch closures due to staff shortages and “ATB stated at the time they were committed to McLennan; no mention of a possible branch closure was made then,” reads the news release.
ATB reps Tracy Gagne, Nizil Lbrahim and Nichole Simard attended the June 14 meeting and said temporary closures at the time were due to staff shortages caused by the pandemic. Gagne told council it was a challenge to stay open during the pandemic because the protection of staff and customers was top priority. She added the decision to close the branch temporarily is never taken lightly.
However, council also heard the McLennan branch is one of the smallest branches in Alberta. Coupled with a decreasing regional population, the decline in customer interaction, plus the fact more customers are banking digitally, means any future decision may change if trends continue.
The “may change” has occurred and the news does not sit well with council, who says the decision to close was made without consulting council. Mayor Jason Doris attempted to contact ATB vice-president Jeremy Friesen to arrange a meeting to discuss the closure.
“. . .but they are not willing to meet,” reads the news release.
“ATB states it is committed to serving McLennan but we don’t know what this will look like after the branch closes,” writes council.
Council is asking residents to rally in an attempt to keep the branch open.
“ATB customers that are not pleased with this news are encouraged to call ATB to voice their concerns,” writes council.” Calls should be directed to vice-president Jeremy Friesen at [403] 620-3886 or branch manger Tracy Gagne at [780] 837-2219.

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