Keremeos mayor grateful for credit union as village's only bank set to close - InfoNews

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Keremeos mayor grateful for credit union as village's only bank set to close

The CIBC bank in Keremeos is closing its doors, effective March 18, 2018.
September 13, 2017 - 2:44 PM

KEREMEOS - Main Street in Keremeos is about to lose the last major bank in the community.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s Susan Kirwin says in an email the bank has decided to consolidate the Keremeos branch with the one in Osoyoos effective March 22, 2018.

Kirwin says existing accounts will be automatically transferred to the Osoyoos branch and they will spend time with clients in the coming months to help them learn more about online or telephone banking. A "community meeting” will be held in Keremeos at Victory Hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 7 to answer questions about the closure and discuss the transition.

The bank is working to find the six employees at the Keremeos branch other opportunities within CIBC, she says.

Keremeos mayor Manfred Bauer says he was contacted by a vice president with CIBC last week to tell him the decision to close the bank had been finalized.

“I’m not very happy to see another business closed," Bauer says. "It will be inconveniencing a lot of people, those who don’t want to use the debit machine or go to Osoyoos or Penticton now."

He says it appears the bank found the cost of operating the branch in Keremeos higher than the profits it generated.

Bauer says CIBC’s loss will be Valley First Credit Union’s gain, as the credit union will be the only financial institution left in the village.

“Most people do bank online, it’s the reality, a sign of the times, so I can see where they are coming from, but as a chartered bank their greatest commitment is not to their customers, it’s to their investors and shareholders," he says. "I’m glad we do have Valley First here, because they have a much greater focus on their members.”

Bauer says losing any business is never good, adding he doesn't think one of the other major banks will be coming to the community.

“I heard... there will be about a dozen branches closing, so we won’t be the only one,” he says.

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