BMO closing local branch

The Bank of Montreal is closing its only Summerland branch this July.

BMO Regional Vice President John Duff says changing digital customer preferences and significant investments required to the 100-year-old branch building have led to the move.

“This decision is not one that we’ve made lightly,” he said.

Accounts based in Summerland will be transferred to Penticton. Duff said half of Summerland customers also use branches outside of town already.

He added they are also exploring leaving behind a full-service ATM that would maintain deposit services.

“I know that there is going to be a small group of customers, that Penticton is not ideal, and they are looking for that human element,” he admitted, adding they would help those clients connect with other local financial institutions.

An open meeting on the closure will be held Feb. 20 where options will be presented to customers.

Duff added that they are very conscious of the historical value of their downtown Summerland home, “we will be working with any future buyer… I know that’s something very, very important to not only the customers in Summerland, but the community as a whole.”

Duff said all Summerland bank employees will be transferred in Penticton, resulting in zero job loss.

Summerland Credit Union CEO Kelly Marshall released a statement Thursday saying they would much rather see BMO stay as a competitor than leave the community.

“The Bank of Montreal has been a tremendous asset to our community and has served the needs of many residents in Summerland for more than a century,” he said.

Marshall invited bank clients to the credit union, noting they have transition and incentive programs in place for bank customers.

Closing day is July 20, 2018.

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