A banking desert in Weston / Mount Dennis?

From love money.com

Banking in Canada is pretty much a license to print money. Profits have never been higher and the big five banks enjoy a comfortable living. With the trend to computerized transactions, banks are finding that many of their customers have no need for a ‘bricks and mortar’ branch. Over the past few years, branches in Weston and Mount Dennis have been ‘consolidating’. This is banking language for closing and sending customers to the next nearest branch. As a result, Weston and Mount Dennis are quickly becoming a banking desert. At one time, we could choose from several banks but now, banks are closing their branches along Weston Road and Jane Street. While it’s true that demand has lessened considerably, many older residents need the comfort of talking to a teller and having their bank book updated regularly.

Like melting snow in a dog park after a long winter, what’s left behind after banks leave are payday loan companies that exploit the poor and vulnerable.

What does the future hold for banks and their branches? Probably more of the same resulting in less convenience for customers.

There is a possible solution to all of this consolidation and one that would be a ‘win’ for both banks and their clients. At least one storefront bank branch could remain open in each community. It shouldn’t matter which bank is represented as long as it services costumers from any of the other ‘big five’ banks without charging a fee. This is entirely possible in these days of Interac banking. Banks could consult with communities and decide which bank is represented in each locality. The banks could save a fortune with a clear conscience knowing that everyone; especially vulnerable seniors, had reasonable access to a bank.

The federal government is responsible for regulating our extremely profitable banks and their activities. Local MP Ahmed Hussen should take this on as a top priority before banks all leave town. If payday loan companies can have branches everywhere, it’s not too much to ask that one ‘big five’ branch stays open in each community. Competing brewers sell their wares through Brewers Retail. The banks need to set up something similar.

6 thoughts on “A banking desert in Weston / Mount Dennis?”

  1. I agree. What’s left is payday loan shops or the sit vacant for ever. Side note adam: Hakim optical has closed down at the corner of Lawrence and Weston. As well as the bun among bakery closed recently. Both without earning. They were here today, gone tommorow. Both were in the community for years. The bakery did quite well, so I’m minute why it departed suddenly.

  2. An EXCELLENT option to the financial situation in Weston and Mount Dennis is the NEW merger of ” Victory Community Credit Union” and ” Luminus Credit Union” at 2011 Lawrence Ave W unit 11 ( 416 243 0686)

    1. LOL ….he cannot do anything as it relates to a private shareholder company except…wait for it….write a letter….

  3. Letter of the week.
    Roy Murray brings up a valid concern in his November 27 op-ed. As a longtime resident of Weston and working in Mount Dennis, I have been disappointed by the recent bank branch closures, which have left vulnerable members of the community without access to an institution they have been loyal to for decades. However, there is an easier and more realistic solution than asking the banks to keep a branch open in each community.

    The simple solution is to bank at a credit union.

    Victory Community Credit Union has been serving the Weston and Mount Dennis communities since 1948. I have had the pleasure of being a member for over 20 years and board member for 10 years. Victory recently announced a partnership with Luminus Financial, another community-minded credit union with a 65-year history. The partnership will strengthen both credit unions financially, allow them to offer even more products and services, and most importantly, both credit unions will continue to serve members from their existing brick-and-mortar branches.

    If you have never banked with a credit union, I would highly recommend learning more about it. Banks and credit unions offer essentially the same products and services but operate in very different ways.

    Credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives. Their profits are distributed back to credit union members in the form of profit-sharing, lower loan rates and higher yields on savings. They are run by a local board of directors who are elected by the credit union members, and members vote on how their credit union is run.

    By contrast, banks are shareholder-owned. Their profits are not shared with customers. They are run by a board of directors who are not necessarily customers, and customers have no say in how their bank is run (as we have seen here in Weston/Mount Dennis).

    Banks and credit unions both offer deposit protection, so your money is safe either way. But credit unions in Canada have a much better reputation for customer satisfaction—they were just awarded the Ipsos Best Banking Award for Customer Service Excellence and Branch Service Excellence for the 13th consecutive year.

    If your bank has left the community, or you’re worried that yours will be the next to go, consider opening an account at Victory. You can visit them in person at 2011 Lawrence Ave W unit 11, or give them a call at 416-243-0686.

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