Local Opinion on NCU closure- Islanders react

Downtown Richard's Landing

With the announcement of the closure of the Richard’s Landing Northern Credit Union branch, locals took to Facebook to voice their concerns.

Locals fear that this closure will have a ripple effect on the community.  The bank is located downtown Richard’s Landing, across from the Island Market, Moose Sweats, Camille’s Island Cafe, and the LCBO.  Shoppers would use their banking trip as a one-stop community shop to purchase the essentials.  With a 45 minute trip off Island to do basic banking, this will draw traffic away from our downtown businesses.

Northern Credit Union plans to have a priority seniors telephone line to help with the transition of consolidating branches, as well as a digital video series aimed at assisting people with the transition.

Islanders feel that Northern Credit Union has not taken into account the lack of cell service available on the island.  High Speed internet access has also been a long time issue for many residents of the Island, not to mention many don’t even own computers.

Steve Richards is a business owner of 9 years on the island.  They chose to support local by keeping their banking on the island.  “It’s easy to say well we’ll just move to another bank, we just signed a five year mortgage with them so the fees incurred to change wouldn’t be worth the trouble.”

Several business owners on the island use the Northern Credit Union to make daily business deposits, as well as buying change throughout the day if the register is low on coin.

A longtime employee from the Island Market reached out to SaultOnline, voicing concern over the fact that with the bank no longer across the street, they will have to keep more cash on hand.  As one of the only businesses open 7 days a week, the Market is a hotspot for breaking change for the laundromat down the road.

Roy Eckmeier, owner of the Black Bear Cafe with his wife Marylou is concerned about money not being kept local.

“As a business owner, we deliberately used the local credit union for no other reason than to support the local community,” said Eckmeier. “Their services are a few years behind the bigger banks, and the charges for the services are not cheap. I will miss the people and the convenience of going to the bank to pick up change.”

Janet Boucher works for the Jocelyn Township on St Joseph Island and has personal, and business accounts with the Richard’s Landing NCU.

“It is very disheartening that this is happening.  We have purposely kept our banking local to St. Joseph Island because we recognize that if we don’t walk the walk, you can’t expect the service to be there when you need it.”

Dozens of locals reached out to SaultOnline stating that they will be switching banks as a result of the branch closing, but for many who are locked into mortgages and financial contracts, that is not an option.

One local doesn’t have any solutions but is willing to try and help.

“I don’t have any answers, but I bet if we as a community put our heads together, we could come up with a solution and proposal,” said Jess Duplin.

If anything it appears islanders are both upset about this decision and ready to work with NCU on an alternative solution. It is yet to be seen if anything will come from the efforts put forward.

Stay with SaultOnline for more information about what the plan going forward is for island residents.


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