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General News · 9th April 2014
Claire Trevena
April 8, 2014

Adrian Legin
President and CEO Coastal Community Credit Union
Nanaimo Head Office
220-59 Wharf Street
Nanaimo, BC V9R 2X3

Dear Mr. Legin,

I am writing to express my concern and disappointment at the decision by the Coastal Community Credit Union to close three branches in July, as well as reducing the hours at a fourth branch.

As you are well aware, the communities of Alert Bay, Sointula, Cortes and Quadra are ferry-dependent. People are not able to simply get in their cars and drive to another branch, half an hour away. The cost of getting to port McNeill is now more than $30; the Cortes trip is close to $50. This is with a discount. Individuals and businesses in these communities are already struggling because of spiraling costs of the ferries. Removing the financial institution will further undermine community stability.

Businesses in all three communities rely on the CCCU to do their banking. The closure of these branches will mean many businesses and individuals will have to leave the community for this basic service. This adds cost – whether to an individual or to a business in both time and cost of travel. Further it has the likelihood of undermining other local business; when people leave the islands for one service they are more likely to do their shopping, and divert other activities, off island.

The impact of the job loss on each of the communities will also be significant. Those people may likely move off island to find work; if they remain, the opportunity to find new work will be limited and that means they will have less to spend in their community.

While the CCCU says it is committed to communities and their economic development and stability this commitment is not reflected in these actions.

Further there is a great deal of disappointment in the manner in which these closures were announced, primarily through positing on the CCCU website and allowing word of mouth spread the sad message. People expect better of a credit union. The rationale is that the CCCU could not explain the “subsidization” of these three branches to the other members seems to forget that those people who use the CCCU in Alert Bay, Sointula, Cortes and Quadra are also members.

I appreciate the telephone conversation we had in which you expressed a desire to work with businesses in the community to minimize the impact and I understand you are also meeting local politicians to explain what has happened.

However, it is truly unfortunate for these communities that the bank that residents own is closing. I would hope that the commitment to find alternative solutions is genuine.

As I mentioned on the phone, I look forward to continuing the discussion.

Yours sincerely,

Claire Trevena,
MLA North Island