Lansdowne bank closure ‘shocking’ says mayor

In this Google Maps photo, the Bank of Montreal branch on Prince Street in Lansdowne, Ont. is slated to be closed by mid-October. The mayor says he is shocked with the news and will lead a political group to fight the bank's move. (Google Maps via Newswatch Group)

LANSDOWNE – Leeds and the Thousand Islands Mayor Joe Baptista says news of the impending closure of the Bank of Montreal’s (BMO) Lansdowne branch is “shocking” and “disturbing.”

In a news release Thursday afternoon, Baptista says he has already contacted MPP Steve Clark and MP Gord Brown and “we are unified in our joint response of disappointment” of the “short-sighted decision.”

BMO plans to close the Lansdowne branch at 1136 Prince Street by Oct. 19, 2018.

Customers would then have to travel about 15 kilometers to the next branch in Gananoque. There are also branches in Athens and Elgin if customers want a face-to-face teller.

Baptista says it will be hard on the employees trying to find a job in a small community, customers who want a personal relationship with a manager or representative and the municipality, which does its banking through BMO.

“We made a commitment to bank with BMO for the Township banking services to support the continued operation of a local banking institution in the village of Lansdowne,” Baptista wrote.

The mayor plans to lead talks with bank management to see if the decision can be reversed.

The Bank of Montreal has similar closure plans for the branch in Iroquois, Ont. in the Municipality of South Dundas.