TD Bank's Fonthill branch. DON RICKERS

Fonthill branch set to close in July

It seems incongruous that a bank would be pulling up roots in Fonthill just when local housing development is burgeoning, and the population is mushrooming. But that’s what Toronto-Dominion is doing.

Fonthill’s TD Branch Manager Mitch McIntosh said he couldn’t comment specifically on the closure, but did note that the distance from the 1439 Pelham Street branch to the one at 845 Niagara Street in Welland is exactly 5.8 kilometres, “An eight -minute drive.”

TD’s Manager of Corporate and Public Affairs, Carla Hindman, said that the numbers didn’t support keeping the Fonthill location open.

“We continually assess demand across our branch network and renovate, relocate, close, and open new branches based on this assessment,” said Hindman. “After a careful review, including a detailed look at customer needs, client traffic in this location, and proximity to other TD branches, we have made the difficult decision to close our branch in Fonthill on July 16. A Toronto-Dominion ATM will remain in Fonthill, all branch employees will be redeployed to other locations, and our customers will continue to see familiar faces at nearby branches.”

Hindman said that TD understands the concerns its customers have raised, and are committed to supporting them.

“We will continue to meet with our customers to help them through this transition.”

Toronto-Dominion Bank, which holds $9 billion in reserves, was one of six major Canadian banks that recently surpassed pre-pandemic profit levels. Its earnings in the fourth quarter of 2020 were $5.1 billion, up 80 percent compared with the same quarter in 2019, according to CBC News.

Bloomberg News reported in late February that TD planned to close 82 of its 1223 US branches as part of a “store optimization” in its American unit. Earnings at the US retail bank had fallen 16 percent to US $615 million. The closures, which are planned for April, are based on an evaluation of locations redundant to nearby branches. An increase in online transactions and use of the TD app by customers factored into the decision.

Pelham residents will remember the outrage that greeted RBC’s closure of its Fenwick branch in 2018, replacing it with a full-service ATM. The branch had been active for 112 years. Prior to its closure, the Fenwick branch had seen declining traffic according to the bank, and had its hours of service reduced. (The building has since been sold, and the ATM removed.)

“They’ve reduced the hours so much in Fenwick, there’s nothing on Saturdays, and nothing in the evenings, so it’s no surprise the traffic is down,” said Fenwick resident Gary Chambers at the time. “But there’s money there. People in Fenwick save. People in Fonthill spend.”

During his campaign for mayor, Marvin Junkin also voiced bewilderment at the decision to close the Fenwick RBC branch at the time, since Fenwick was a growing, not shrinking, community. He also pointed out that RBC had made $1.2 billion in profit the previous year.

“When is enough, enough?” Junkin asked.



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