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Credit union says branch closure issues are resolved

Coastal Community Credit Union says it has addressed concerns surrounding recently announced branch closures while local government says the credit union has given them “nothing.”

Cortes Island regional district director Noba Anderson said the credit union never consulted its members prior to its decision to close the branch July 5.

Anderson and local government representatives from Alert Bay and Sointula – communities which also stand to lose their credit unions – have also been refused any financial proof that the branches are struggling.

But Adrian Legin, president and CEO of Coastal Community Credit Union, disagrees and said the issues brought forward by Anderson, Alert Bay mayor Michael Berry and Sointula director Heidi Soltau have been dealt with.

“We believe we have addressed the areas of concern you raise in your letter,” Legin wrote in a letter to Anderson, Berry and Soltau. “We would like to re-emphasize that we certainly appreciate that the affected communities are concerned about the decisions that were made, and that people will need to change some ways they currently do their banking.”

Legin said that although the branches will no longer have a physical presence in the three communities, some services will still be available.

“Although our current branch infrastructure will no longer be available, our employee teams in these communities are committed to helping members through this transition, and to assist those who may not be aware of alternate service options including online, mobile and telephone banking, video experts, as well as new service options that we’ll soon introduce like Deposit Anywhere,” Legin wrote.

Legin noted that the credit union will also work “to determine possible uses for our buildings in these communities. As we work through this process we will be using local and regional resources and will keep you informed of our progress.”

Such communication with members is something that Anderson said did not happen when the decision was made to close the branch.

“It’s the indecency of a member-based, member-owned institution making a decision without engaging its membership that I find so abominable,” Anderson told the Mirror last week. “A credit union should put its members above profit. If it was a private business and they closed down, so be it.

“They have given us nothing,” Anderson added. “No numbers, no analysis, no basis for calculations, no redacted staff reports, no rationale for lack of consultation – nothing.”

At last Thursday’s Strathcona Regional District board meeting, directors voted to write a letter to the credit union to express their concern with the organization’s decision to pull its Cortes Island branch without member consultation.

Legin said the decision was made to close the three branches because they have not been financially viable and the level to which they were being subsidized is not sustainable.

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