The growing township of Esquimalt is now without a bank.
“With the bank leaving, it’s just another thing in Esquimalt that’s gone away, so it’s kind of sad,” Debbie Cooper, 55, who was born and raised in Esquimalt.
“As far as I know, there is no bank in Esquimalt nor Vic West, so it’s hard for people who can’t drive or are handicapped or anything,” Eva, a senior, told CHEK News.
The RBC Bank, which called Esquimalt Plaza home, is moving its location to Uptown. Esquimalt’s mayor says the bank’s move happened quickly, but RBC is looking at alternative replacements.
“It is going to be a bumpy ride right now,” Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins admitted. “The Royal Bank has committed to putting in a full-service kiosk. They just have yet to identify the space in Esquimalt.”
Desjardins believes that it’s only a matter of time before another brick-and-mortar bank will open in Esquimalt, offering the personal touch many have come to rely on.
“We have been, and I will continue to actively engage with other financial institutions and credit unions because, in my mind, with the growth that’s occurring here, with the number of people who come here every day to go to work and go home, there is a real need and business case for a bank to be here,” said Desjardins.
The family that owns and runs the Esquimalt Bake Shop for the last three decades agrees.
“I think we should need a bank here. Because Esquimalt has grown…and a lot of seniors need a bank,” said Hong Nguyen, who started the business with her husband in the 1990s.
For the last 30 years, the Esquimalt Bake Shop has been cash-only, until this week.
“We’re high-tech now. We got a credit machine,” said Nguyen.
The bank was located right next to the bakery in the Esquimalt Plaza. If customers didn’t have cash, it was easy for them to pop in and take money out.
Without that option, the bakery was forced to rent a credit/debit machine and take on the expenses of paying for each transaction. They say that within the first week of having the machine, their added costs are balanced out by the community’s generosity through tips and say the last thing they want to do is increase prices for their customers.”