A New Brunswick MP says he plans to meet with Canada’s finance minister in a bid to save Grand Manan’s only bank.

Scotiabank, which has operated on the island for more than a century, informed customers in January of its intention to leave Grand Manan. The closure of the bank branch, as well as its ATM, is scheduled for August 24.

Scotiabank says customer accounts from Grand Manan branch will be transferred to its branch in St. George, New Brunswick

The only regular connection between Grand Manan and the mainland is a 1.5-hour ferry trip each way. The St. George branch is approximately 20 kilometers from the ferry landing in Blacks Harbour, NB

Residents say they wonder why the bank is leaving Grand Manan and worry about having to leave the island to do their banking, including ferry fees and rising gas prices.

New Brunswick Southwest MP John Williamson says Canadian banks should have more of an obligation to serve communities that may face unique challenges in their absence.

“They argued that this was a reason why the Government of Canada should continue to bar access to foreign banks. OK fine. They need to be protected, but I think it’s up to them — in this case, Scotiabank — to continue to serve a place like Grand Manan,” Williamson said.

In a statement to CTV News earlier this month, Scotiabank said its decision to close the branch was based on a regular review of customer numbers and habits in a particular market. However, Scotiabank would not share those specific details for Grand Manan.

The closure of the Grand Manan bank is part of a growing trend in the province.

According to the Canadian Bankers Association, New Brunswick lost 10 bank branches – from 152 to 142 – between 2016 and 2020.

The only banks in Chipman, NB, and Hartland, NB left those communities at this time.

Meanwhile, residents plan to protest the closure of Grand Manan Bank in front of the New Brunswick Legislature and the Scotiabank branch in downtown Fredericton later this week.

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