| May 14, 2015

In 1965 a new business opened up at the corner of Glastonbury Rd. and Hwy. 41 in downtown Northbrook. It was located in an unassuming trailer, but it had a marquee name, Bank of Montreal, one of the oldest and most established companies in Canada, dating back to 1817.

The branch was established after Robert Bell, the manager at the Tweed branch, noticed that a lot of customers at their location came from the Northbrook area, and would likely be better served with a local branch.

Pretty much from the start, customers took to having a local bank, and BMO (as it is now known) certainly took hold with the local community. American-based cottagers opened accounts in order to change money and pay their taxes; it appeared that local municipalities were happy to be able to deal with a branch manager locally; and the permanent residents and local businesses jumped on board from the start

A second portable building was put up in the 1970s and, finally, in 1991, a new stand-alone branch was constructed, all at the same location.

An ATM machine, the first one north of Hwy. 7 between Perth and Marmora, followed in the mid-90s. Over the last 15 years or so, the necessity for office space to talk about the range of banking needs of customers has outstripped the need for tellers, so the number of offices in the branch has increased as the number of teller stations has been reduced. This was done to better serve the clientele, by bringing a personal and more private atmosphere to the banking experience.

The current branch manager, Jennifer Baker, moved to the branch five years ago this week. Baker, who has local roots and lives in Tweed, says working at the branch is a dream job for her.

“We are able to offer such a full range of banking services, and meet with people directly in their own community to talk about investing, commercial accounts, lending, financial planning and daily banking,” she said.

Next week, on Wednesday, May 20, the staff will mark the 50th anniversary of the branch, which opened on May 17 in 1965.

The BMO senior Vice-President, Sandra Henderson and the regional Vice-president, Danielle Williams will be on hand with branch personnel for the festivities, as well as a number of former branch managers. A BBQ celebration is open to all and starts at 11 a.m. and, yes indeed, there will also be cake.

For further information, call the branch at 613-336-2696.

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