Five branches of the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) will be amalgamated with neighbouring offices to “ensure sustainability and exceptional client service moving forward,” the Alberta crown corporation says in a news release on March 15.
High Prairie, High River, Rimbey, Smoky Lake and Spirit River, are all one-employee offices. These employees will be reassigned to larger, full-service offices in the same service areas, the release says. AFSC says these new amalgamated offices will provide increased support for AFSC clients and staff, while offering a full range of risk management and lending products for Alberta producers.
All impacted clients will be notified of the changes and immediately connected to a branch in close proximity to serve their needs — there will be no impact to client-facing branch staff, the release says.
“These are very difficult decisions,” AFSC CEO Darryl Kay says in the release. “AFSC has an ongoing responsibility to evaluate its operations and determine how we can improve to deliver more value to our clients and all Albertans. We are thankful for the relationships we’ve had in those communities. These decisions will not interrupt the relationship-based service clients expect from AFSC.”
AFSC also announced changes to two programs. The Spring Price Endorsement will be discontinued effective immediately, and the 20 per cent top up payment for the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program, will be eliminated, the release says.
Last week, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen announced an increase to AFSC’s borrowing and lending limits, the release also notes.
Agriculture services in Alberta have been going through a number of changes over the last few years as the provincial government has worked to reduce spending and the amount of agricultural programs the province runs.