TD has social responsibility to communities

 In Letters, Opinion

We have been customers of TD Bank, TD Waterhouse and TD Visa for over 40 years. We are now retired and have lived in the Creemore area since 1999.

We were extremely disappointed to learn that TD will close the bank branch in Creemore and merge it with the branch in Stayner. You have advised us that the transfer is a ‘fait accompli’ and our accounts will be moved to a new TD branch, whether or not we agree to such a transfer or asking whether we might wish to make alternative arrangements.

This arrogant approach to ‘customer service’, at the most basic level, demonstrates that management has lost touch with the core values so proudly proclaimed in TD’s shareholder communications and advertising campaigns. TD has been in Creemore for over 100 years (the only financial institution in town) and has always been a cornerstone of the village. The businesses and residents of Creemore and the surrounding area have long supported the bank and have come to rely on it for their financial services.

A move to Stayner will not only be a major inconvenience for all, but an impossibility for many who will not or cannot use on-line or telephone banking for their needs and are unable to travel to Stayner, especially during the winter when the main highway is often closed.

You will not even commit to leaving an ATM in Creemore after the branch move. The decision to abandon Creemore has likely been made because the branch may not contribute some target threshold amount to the bottom line but clearly without any regard to the serious impact the closure will have on many local residents and businesses.

TD not only has a financial responsibility to its shareholders but also a social responsibility to the communities in which it operates and to its customers who have been so instrumental in TD’s success. Customers have been advised that TD believes that they are “meeting all the requirements of the branch closure regulations” of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). However, apart from the summary notice of the branch closure sent to customers and a vague plan to hold a future information session at some unspecified date, TD has not had any consultation with the Creemore community before the decision was made to close the branch. The FCAC regulations make it clear that TD is expected to have “consulted the community in the area affected by the closure of the branch or the cessation of the activity well enough to ascertain the views of interested persons in the community with regard to the closure of the branch, the cessation of the activity, alternate service delivery by the bank or measures to help the branch’s customers adjust to the closing or cessation.”

This clearly has not been done! We find it extremely hypocritical that TD has advised customers of the closure of the Creemore branch shortly after the launch of a new ad campaign, extoling the virtues of its customer service. Professing to be concerned about the 79 per cent of Canadians who do not feel confident about their financial future, Theresa McLaughlin, TD’s Chief Marketing Officer has been quoted as saying, “We believe that consumers are looking for a lean-in version of comfort, with more hands-on service”.

How do you reconcile TD’s new tag line “Ready for you” with the branch closure in Creemore after over a century in the community, abandoning customers making them feel even less confident about their financial future?

We implore you to reconsider the branch closure in Creemore and live up to the bank’s promise to “consistently deliver legendary customer experiences” as articulated in your annual report.

Bill & Lorraine Strain

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