Desjardins removes ATM from St-Pierre – Residents left with no proper banking
Desjardins removes ATM from St-Pierre – The Caisse Populaire Desjardins automatic teller machine (ATM) in Ville St-Pierre (Lachine) closed on June 30 following the sale of the former credit union building. All of this angers the local population which now has no other proper banking facility in what used to be an independent, self-sufficient town.
“This certainly does not help attract new businesses to St. Jacques Street,” comments David Marshall, CEO of the non-profit Revitalization Saint-Pierre (CRUISP). “it was already difficult for local businesses; some storefronts have been for rent or for sale many years now. And I thought that Desjardins was different from the banks because it had a social conscience…”
The credit union at 195 St. Jacques Street closed abruptly in October, 2016 and operations were transferred to the credit union on Provost Street in the main part of Lachine. Local residents rallied then to at least keep the ATM open. After some hesitation, Desjardins agreed “until the building was sold” as Marshall relates. Now, the building has been sold and posters taped to the door indicate that the ATM will be removed by June 30.
“This poster includes a map indicating where the nearest credit unions are,” notes Marshall. “Unfortunately, these are between two to four kilometres away and most local residents do not have cars. Taking public transit to these other credit unions is complicated, requiring transfers and often also long walks. This is not convenient…”
Marshall notes that while there is a TD ATM at the local Ultramar gas station, residents cannot effectuate deposits or pay bills on that machine; only cash withdrawals. Much of the population in St-Pierre is poor and elderly, complicating the task of travelling to other parts of the city for banking needs.
One of the main projects of the CRUISP over the past few years has been to operate a fruit and vegetable market in an area that is otherwise a “food desert” with few healthy food choices available for sale. “We are remodeling the market and invited Desjardins to install an ATM inside it, but they declined,” relates Marshall.
The Times understands that Desjardins was also invited to install an ATM inside a local pharmacy, but declined that offer, too.
Marshall is also disappointed with the Quebec Ministry of Transport (MTQ) which took away most on-street parking along St. Jacques Street in 2016. “This made things even more difficult for local merchants. Desjardins cited the lack of parking as a factor in its decision to close this satellite branch, noting a steep drop In business after on-street parking was removed.”
The MTQ justified its decisions as facilitating traffic flow around the Turcot highway reconstruction project, something that few St-Pierre residents—many of whom do not have cars–benefit from. For them, the $3.8 billion highway project simply means more traffic, more noise, more dust, less parking, and less business for local merchants.
““We will probably now approach some of the regular banks to see if they want to open an ATM in St-Pierre. I’m convinced there’s a financial institution out there keen to contribute to the progress we have made as a community,” reflected Marshall.
Feature image: David Marshall on the Stairs at the Caisse Populaire Desjardins on St-Jacques