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.
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.