No more traditional Caisse Desjardins brochures, no more counters in many small communities. Desjardins has closed its facilities in Albanel and Girardville and Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean, with more to follow in the coming days.
The consequences are serious for users. For the citizens of Albanel and Girardville, it was their only ATM.
On Monday, several users encountered closed doors as the counters are now permanently closed. Citizens who want to use an ATM must now drive almost 20 minutes to neighboring communities where the service is maintained.
“I didn’t know it was already closed here. Sometimes we have to pay for certain things with money and then we are stuck with the ATM card, I don’t know if the supermarket can accommodate us,” complained a citizen of the municipality of Albanel.
Desjardins told municipalities that a lack of monthly transactions was the cause of these closures. For the communities affected, this is nonsense.
“It’s another service we’re missing out on for the citizens of our community. We have older people, companies too, that take care of this Desjardins counter service that we had for 100 years, it was one of the oldest in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean.
It still pays off in money at festivals. I know our festival has come a long way with the addition of terminals, but it will never be enough to meet demand,” stressed Albanel Mayor Dave Plourde.
Further closures will follow
Other communities in Lac-Saint-Jean will suffer the same fate on December 7th. This applies to Ascension, Labrecque, Saint-Nazaire and Sainte-Monique.
“If you have fewer services, there’s no point in getting there. We often hear that we are far away from everything. We have a community that has developed very dynamically, we have a lot of things for young families, we are organizing, but this is a big blow for us,” said the mayor of Sainte-Monique, Mario Desbiens.
Several petitions are circulating in the hope that Desjardins will reverse his decision. Thousands of citizens added their signatures.
“It’s a cooperative. It belongs to the members and we have no say!” complained one of the signatories.
“I’m really disappointed. You know, at our age it’s not fun to go to Alma or Delisle in the winter,” one of them added.
“At least for the members of Desjardins, it would have been the “fun” that they could take and explain to them in a public meeting,” emphasized the mayor of Albanel.
Several municipalities fear losing their coffers in the coming months or years. Desjardins did not respond to requests for clarification.