Bank’s withdrawal infuriates Outaouais town


People living in Ripon, Que., are furious over the removal of the small western Quebec town’s only Desjardins bank machine.


Hundreds of residents packed the Paroisse St-Casimir-de-Ripon Tuesday night to denounce the closure, which happened in January.

Desjardins representatives explained that use of the ATM in the Petite-Nation Market building on Route 317 has dropped 13 per cent since 2015.

The bank operates as a co-operative in the rural community of about 1,500, about 80 kilometres northwest of Ottawa.

Many residents accused the co-op’s board of abandoning Ripon, while some residents who said their families have banked with Desjardins for generations threatened to abandoned the bank. Desjardins representatives got an earful from residents of Ripon, Que., over the closure of the co-op’s only local ATM in January. (Jacaudrey Charbonneau/Radio-Canada)

Decision left to co-op’s board

Many were also angry the fate of Ripon’s only Desjardins ATM was left solely to the co-op’s board of directors.

By refusing the [popular] vote, you have denied the very principle of a co-operative.– Vincent  Ouellette-Destroismaisons

“By refusing the [popular] vote, you have denied the very principle of a co-operative,” said market president Vincent Ouellette-Destroismaisons, who began a petition against the ATM’s removal.

Ouellette-Destroismaisons said the decision demonstrates that banks such as Desjardins don’t understand how their decisions affect smaller communities.

Ouellette-Destroismaisons said market vendors rely on a nearby ATM for their customers, many of whom prefer to use cash.

He said keeping the ATM where it is would cost Desjardins just $25,000 a year.

Desjardins said it’s considering setting up a shuttle from Ripon to its branch in Saint-André-Avellin, about 10 kilometres away.

The Outaouais communities of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette and Plaisance are also at risk of losing their ATMs.

Residents there have started to push for their own meetings with Desjardins.