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Burford latest community affected by rural bank closures
TD Canada Trust is closing its branch in Burford, outside Brantford, in the latest in a string of recent rural bank closures.
The bank has announced that the Burford branch will be closing its doors as of Aug. 24. A spokesperson for the bank says a decline in foot traffic at the branch prompted the closure.
The decision has sparked criticism from many people in the community, as well as the area’s MPP.
TD Bank set 2 leave Burford. Sad indeed. Customers not valued. They'll say they are. Is there another bank or Credit Union willing 2 set up shop? The good citizens of the surrounding area will be LOYAL & “supportive"....— Dave Levac (@DaveLevac) February 23, 2018
TD Canada Trust is recommending that affected customers switch to online banking or, if they need to use a physical bank, utilize TD’s branches in Brantford, Woodstock or Paris. The bank will also keep an ATM in Burford.
Some customers, like George Lowes, say they don’t trust online banking and don’t want to leave Burford to do their banking.
“What choice you got? Drive to Brantford? Drive to Woodstock? No, it ain’t gonna happen,” he says.
Instead, Lowes plans to end his 50-year relationship with TD and switch to CIBC, which also has a branch in Burford.
Like many people in the area, Shirley Wilson is contemplating the same options.
The lifelong Burford resident says she may switch to CIBC as well, and expects farmers in particular to do the same.
“It is going to be a tremendous difficulty for them, when they work long, hard hours, to now have to go an extra 15-20 minutes to a bank in another city,” she says.
Wilson says she understands that the bank might be seeing fewer customers, but wishes TD Canada Trust could have found a way to maintain some level of “personal contact” in Burford.
“With not thinking about the rural community, they’ve done the rural community a disservice,” she says.
Rural bank closures are an increasing trend in southern Ontario, with two communities learning recently that they would lose their only major bank branches.
The RBC branch in Clifford is set to close in August, while Sept. 20 has been set as the last day of business for the CIBC branch in Blyth.
CIBC, like TD, says its decision is based on customers moving toward ATMs and online banking.
That explanation isn’t enough for Blyth resident Irene Kellins, who says Blyth is a growing community with residents who shouldn’t need to make a 15-minute drive out-of-town to do their banking.
“It’s so important to a small village to have a bank,” she says.
TD Canada Trust says it will hold a community information session in Burford prior to the branch’s closure. CIBC is doing the same in Blyth.
With reporting by Maleeha Sheikh and files from CTV London