Summerland Bank of Montreal branch to close

Downtown building has been in use as bank since 1917

The Summerland branch of the Bank of Montreal, a landmark in downtown Summerland, will be closing its doors this summer.

The branch will close on July 20 at 2 p.m.

John Duff, the bank’s regional vice-president for the B.C. Southern Interior, said the decision was made because of changes in the banking industry.

“The branch service continues to evolve,” he said, adding that the change was the result of changing customer preferences.

The bank will install a full-service bank machine in the community, although the location of this machine has not yet been determined.

Customers who need in-branch service can access bank branches in Penticton and other communities.

Duff said many customers are already making baking transactions in Penticton, Kelowna, at bank machines and online. However, he said some prefer to use the Summerland branch for their transactions.

“I empathize with our customers. This is not ideal for some of them,” he said.

The five employees at the bank will be relocated to Penticton after the Summerland bank closes.

For more than 110 years, the Bank of Montreal has served Summerland.

In 1907, a sub-branch of the Vernon branch was opened in Lowertown. This branch later became a full branch and in 1911, a sub-branch was opened on Main Street, at the present location of True Grain Bread.

The bank building, at 9902 Main St., was opened in 1917 and has been used by the Bank of Montreal since that time.

While the bank is not the oldest commercial building in Summerland, it is the only one to have been used by the same owner and for the same purpose since it was built.

While the bank has undergone many changes over the years, the basic floor plan remains as it was since the bank was first opened.

The upstairs of the bank was once used as living quarters for bank managers. Today, it houses the staff lounge. There are also offices in the upstairs, which have been used by bank staff who do not need to deal directly with the customers.

In 1996, the building received the Heritage Building Award, given by the Summerland Museum and Heritage Society.

Duff said the historic value of the building will be considered.

“We are going to work very hard to ensure that the building is the right fit for the right purpose,” he said.

A public information meeting about the future of the bank branch will be held in Summerland on Feb. 20.

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