For 138 years, the Royal Bank of Canada and its Guysborough predecessor, the Merchant’s Bank, have provided financial service to the people of Guysborough and area.
This has been a service that the community could count on. However, with the changes brought upon us by the pandemic (two active cases in Nova Scotia at the time of writing), Guysborough and area residents can no longer depend upon financial services at RBC Guysborough.
According to RBC, hours at many branches were reduced due to Covid, but some branches have returned to full time. Guysborough’s hours have been juggled several times since March, much to the frustration and anger of many individuals who make special trips to the village for banking. The hours at Guysborough still remain reduced; open three days per week. Likely much to the surprise of the corporation, not everyone uses, or wants to use on-line or ATM banking. Many still like to deal with a person, pay their bills at the bank, and handle cash. Particularly, this applies to our seniors with 31 per cent of Guysborough County’s population over the age of 65 (2016 Census).
In calling the Customer Service line for the Guysborough Branch on September 11, I was informed that not even the local manager is aware when or if the hours will return to normal, but these decisions are made at “head office.”
Interestingly, nearby branches in larger town centers that have university and college populations relocating to their communities, have returned to full-time hours. If the continuation of reduced hours is actually intended to protect people’s health from a pandemic, then the larger centers would be allowing less people access, and rural branches like Guysborough would be open full time.
It may come as a surprise to RBC officials, that the residents of Guysborough and Sherbrooke (which also has been subjected to reduced operational hours) have the same financial needs now as they did prior to COVID-19.
It seems to me, RBC is using Covid as a convenient excuse to remove service from Guysborough County. Just another rural cut-back.