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Major bank shutters branch in Port Coquitlam's walkable downtown

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West has concerns about seniors getting to their bank after RBC moves to Oxford Crossing

Port Coquitlam's efforts to make its historic downtown a walkable community has taken a hit after a major bank shuttered its branch.

RBC has closed its branch located at 2581 Shaughnessy St. and is moving to a new location at 1110-1971 Lougheed Hwy.

As of Monday (Jan. 17), the new branch was not yet open but there were no signs of activity, or signage at the former branch location, except for a folded and dirty business card in the parking lot out back.

The company states that it closed the Shaughnessy branch on Friday, Jan. 13 and the new branch is expected to open today (Jan. 18).

For PoCo Mayor Brad West, the closure of the downtown branch is a disappointment because it means seniors living in the area who like to bank in person will now have to drive — or change banks.

Bank of Montreal still has a branch at 102-2654 Shaughnessy St., in the city hall precinct, almost directly across the street from the former RBC branch.

"I personally spoke to RBC management when I learned of the closure to express my disappointment as it was a convenient location for people living downtown, and especially for our seniors," said West.

The building looks extremely sad now, an empty facade across from McAllister Avenue, where the city is finishing up a significant upgrade to improve pedestrian access.

The former RBC branch was built in 1976 and has a distinctive look of a modern branch of the era.

According to the BC Assessment Authority, the 8,556 sq-ft. building and property are worth $3.1 million, up from $2.6 million in the 2021 assessment.

It is currently owned by RBC, according to the company in an email to the Tri-City News, and the building will be put up for sale.

The City of Port Coquitlam confirmed RBC took out two building permits for construction for its new Oxford Crossing branch, with a total value of construction at more than $1 million.

In addition to the new branch at Oxford Crossing, next to the Sewak's No Frills, RBC has a branch operating at 871 Village Dr., in Fremont Village.

RBC isn't the first major financial institutions to raise eyebrows for relocating.

In 2019, employees were upset at the closure of the Westminster Savings Credit Union branch at Shaughnessy Station in Port Coquitlam.

The branch was closed after employees had been on strike for six months for a contract.

However, the credit union at the time said the closure was required because transactions had declined and there was another branch nearby in Sunwood Square in Coquitlam.

That Sunwood Square branch is now a Prospera Credit Union after WSCU merged with Prospera.