City of Alberta Fears Loss of Local Bank May Discourage Businesses and New Residents | The Canadian News

The city of Bruderheim, Alta., Located about an hour northeast of Edmonton, has been actively seeking new business through tax incentives and cheap land sales. But now, it is feared that losing its local bank could slow down investment.

In late September, Bruderheim residents learned of ATB’s plans to close the city’s only bank in March.

“It’s just another kick in the gut for the city of Bruderheim,” said Dave Calder.

Calder said he has been receiving cash, paying his bills and maintaining a safe at the Bruderheim branch for decades. He is disappointed with ATB’s decision to close.

“I don’t think the bank is busy enough or making enough money,” he said.

ATB did not make anyone available for an interview, however, in a statement, the company said that “the way our Bruderheim customers choose to complete their daily banking transactions has been changing over time: more people are choosing digital banking options. convenient. “

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READ MORE: ATB Financial closes 10 branches in Alberta, causing job losses

Calder said he is not interested in online banking.

“If you don’t care about me, I don’t want to bank with ATB anymore,” he said.

James Koladich said he has worked with ATB his entire life, ever since his parents opened an account for him as a child.

“When I turned 18, I got a credit card, then I got a mortgage through them, a small business through them. Everything has been ATB the whole time. “

Now, he is working next door to the Bruderheim branch and said he will miss the convenience.

“They say they are going to install an ATM; the problem cannot be done much with an ATM. It’s nice to talk to people. “

As of March 8, 2020, ATB will close its Bruderheim bank.

Sarah Ryan / Global News

Koladich is also concerned about the bigger picture.

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“It is really sad, especially for these small towns. On the main street there are not tons of buildings. You can see many vacancies. It will be sad to see someone else. “

Bruderheim Mayor Karl Hauch shares those concerns.

“In my opinion, a pillar of a community is a banking institution,” he said.

“There are people who will not move to their community if they do not have a bank to go to.”

Bruderheim has bucked the trend when it comes to small towns, and their population has increased by six percent over the past decade.

There is a new hotel made out of shipping containers, a new firehouse that also houses the city hall, and a large hemp company in town.

READ MORE: Hemp processing plant creates jobs in Bruderheim

Hauch said a residential developer is also interested in building more homes in Bruderheim.

“It feels like we’re getting some traction and moving our community forward. This comes and feels like an obstacle in front of us, “he explained.

There is also the fear of a domino effect: that if residents need to go out of town to the bank, they could buy and spend their money on the same trip. That could spell disaster for local retailers.

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“With one less business, it’s just not good,” Koladich said.

Today, nearly 1,400 people call Bruderheim home. Hauch said many of them bank with ATB.

“All the non-profit organizations in our community, the city itself has ATB. Our family works with benches at ATB, the senior men’s hockey team that I help with benches at ATB. “

The next closest bank is 10 minutes down the highway in Lamont. The latest census data shows that the city has about 450 more residents.

Hauch said he tried to convince ATB to change its mind and stay, but the bank is firm in its decision.

“The municipalities around us, east of us in Lamont County, are not growing at the same rate,” he said. “I don’t understand why they would be doing that to us.”

So now you are looking for other options.

“I’m hopeful that if ATB pulls out, we could find another banking institution to fill the void in Bruderheim, because I think ATB is going to lose customers because of this,” Hauch said.

READ MORE: Small town in Saskatchewan, losing bank that’s been there for over a century

The mayor hopes that other cities will pay attention to what is happening in Bruderheim.

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“I think this is a warning sign for all small communities in Alberta that this is coming.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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