A decision by Caisse Financial Group to close eight of its 27 branches in Manitoba is bad news for ratepayers in the RM of Montcalm.

Caisse Populaires in St. Joseph and Letellier are scheduled to be shut down by March 1, 2018.

The Manitoba financial co-operative notified members in those communities their branches would be closed due to a "low volume of activity."

Caisse populaires are, essentially, Francophone versions of credit unions.

Montcalm reeve Derek Sabourin says the move will be an inconvenience for some ratepayers when it comes to their banking activities.

"Some people like to do their banking by dealing with someone face to face, some people like doing it online, so everybody is different. It just would have been nice if members would have had an opportunity to speak about the decision before it was told to them."

Sabourin says residents in Letellier and St. Joseph who want to continue to do their banking at a local Caisse will have to travel to the nearest branch in St. Jean Baptiste.

The reeve was asked if the decision to close these financial services would hinder the future growth of the two communities.

"That would be hard to figure out. When it comes to the commercial and agricultural end of it for the lending, I'm sure the Caisse will still be very willing to sit down with people at their kitchen table and discuss those loans. I don't see it being a detriment to those communities."

Other branches closing in March include South Junction, Richer, Marquette, Haywood, Rathwell, and St. Leon.

Caisse Financial Group has assured members in those towns and villages the closure will not affect their accounts, and their numbers will remain the same.

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