Part of the history of Côte Saint-Luc is about to disappear. The Laurentian Bank, located at the corner of Westminster Avenue and Côte Saint-Luc Road, will close its doors on Thursday, January 22 at 7 p.m. Those who have their account there will be transferred to the branch at 6640 Somerled Avenue in NDG with the promise of more employees and extended business hours.
For decades the City and District Savings Bank, as this institution was known up until 1987, was part of the landscape in the community. Across the street at one time was Galardo's Restaurant, where a Canada Trust Bank now stands. In the small shopping plaza anchored by the Famous Delly Boys, on the other side of the street, there is a Scotiabank.
Laurentian Bank switched its format more than a decade ago when it stopped employing tellers. Customers were encouraged to use the machines. Ironically, this change increased the level of customer service to such an impressive level that there was more one-on-one attention that before. Staff behind the counter were actuallu approacheable and would complete any transaction necessary. It was nonetheless clear that this branch was operating on borrowed time. Half the facility was not even being used and a number of customers had switched their accounts to banks with tellers. It will be interesting to see how many move on to NDG.
Customers will have to change their account numbers, but they are being given a four year grace period to make the transition. An automatic banking machine will remain in place for now on Westminster. But there is a big "for rent" sign up so there is no telling what business might take this spot.