The Royal Bank in Port Alberni has brought in RBC’s mobile bank truck to serve clients while the bank recovers from a fire.
The fire started in a little library in the ATM vestibule at the bank’s main branch on Third Avenue during the evening of Dec. 1, 2022. While the fire was contained to the vestibule, smoke damage to the rest of the bank was extensive, branch manager Leona Horvath said.
The mobile truck arrived on Wednesday, Dec. 7 and was set up for use by Dec. 8 in the parking lot behind 2995 Third Avenue (at Mar Street). The trailer features seating space for client meetings, heaters, and an ATM machine at the back of the truck.
In the few days that staff weren’t able to work at the main branch, they were out in the community lending a hand. Some of the eight bank employees helped out at the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Dec. 5, then helped serve food at the Bread of Life on Dec. 6.
Now that the mobile truck is here, there will be at least two staff members at the truck, some have been at the Johnston Road ATM assisting people, and salespeople have been able to set up virtual appointments and work remotely from home. While the ATM is there and staff can do everything via laptop from wire transfers to helping people set up mobile banking, staff cannot make cash transactions. Arrangements can be made for night deposits. There is also a Royal Bank ATM at the Petro-Canada gas station on River Road.
“We’re trying our best,” Horvath said. “We can do everything virtually, pretty much. There’s only a few things we can’t do and I’m redirecting (people) to Parksville or Nanaimo.”
Horvath said the main branch on Third Avenue will tentatively re-open on Monday, Dec. 19.
Cleanup crews and technicians have been working long days cleaning up smoke and water damage and replacing melted wiring.
The mobile bank will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The full-service mobile ATM is expected to be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This is the first time Horvath has ever had to use the RBC Mobile Bank, although the truck itself is used all over Canada. “We had it for the Olympics (2010 Winter Games in Vancouver) and we used it all over B.C.,” she said.
The mobile bank was brought into Chase, B.C. in 2018 when that village’s bank burned down. The mobile truck was also brought to Prince George, Williams Lake and Barriere, B.C. to help people during wildfires in those communities. The truck is used for both community events and to help out during emergencies.
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