The town of Bruderheim is losing its only bank.
The Bruderheim Alberta Treasury Branch (ATB) has been in the community for nearly 40 years and is set to close its doors in March 2022.
Mayor Karl Hauch was informed of the proposed closure just over a week ago and worries about the sustainability of the community once one of its pillars is removed.
"What they're saying is that they believed they could better serve the residents of Bruderheim with a top-of-the-line ATM machine of some kind," Hauch said, adding the bank plans to visit town once or twice a week so seniors and people with reduced visibility can do their banking in town.
Once it closes, the nearest bank would be in the town of Lamont.
Hauch is preparing to fight to save the bank location, calling on the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA, Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk.
Bruderheim is a growing community, seeing a larger percentage growth over the last few years than nearby towns. With recent additions to the community, such as the new hemp processing plant, Hauch has concerns over how the loss of the bank will affect its growth.
"If you're looking to relocate to a community and they go 'oh yeah, by the way, there's no bank in town but we have this fancy ATM machine,' that's not exactly a huge selling feature in my opinion," Hauch continued. "I think it's a warning to all small communities."
Residents like Linda Davies are disappointed by the bank's decision to close its doors. Davies is a 40-year resident of Bruderheim and primarily does her banking in person.
"It's a pleasure to go into that building and I am truly going to miss the ability to network and discuss my banking issues with people who actually care. I'm not saying that a bank machine doesn't care, but it's not going to smile and ask me how I'm doing," Davies explained.
Davies also brought up her concerns for how the closure will affect other businesses in town, adding that if people leave town to do her banking, they'll most likely run other errands while they're out, spending money that would have otherwise remained in town.
"It's going to be a terrible blow to the town," she continued. "When people come to town to look around, you're looking for a bank; you're looking for a pharmacy, you're looking for a hardware store, you're looking for a grocery store."
Hauch and Bruderheim town council will continue their talks with the CEO and vice president of ATB in hopes of finding a solution.