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Vancity banks on Alert Bay

Representatives from the Village of Alert Bay, the ‘Namgis First Nation, and Vancity gathered

Representatives from the Village of Alert Bay, the ‘Namgis First Nation, and Vancity gathered in the Learning Centre last Wednesday for a ceremonial inking of a Memorandum of Understanding between the three parties that entails the creation of a physical presence on Comorant Island. An exact location has not been determined, but an announcement on that is expected soon. Once that presence is established, the community-based banking institution states in a press release they will be able to offer “in-person, basic banking services, cash handling for business operations and onsite support for more complex transactions such as investments, mortgages, loans and account signatories.”

The agreement was announced to the public the following evening at Cormorant Island’s Economic Development Strategy meeting. Stewart Anderson, a Vancity representative, was there to let the community know they were committed to creating a physical presence and building relationships on the island. Anderson also announced a job opening for a customer service representative at the meeting. Over the past year the Village and the Band have been working with a consultant on an economic strategy to help chart a course for the local economy. Alert Bay’s Mayor Michael Berry, stated “the presence of a forward-thinking financial institution is a critical part of the joint Alert Bay/’Namgis Economic Development Strategy that is being developed for our island and this announcement comes at a perfect time as we begin the implementation phase of that plan.”

Vancity was one of several institutions the two local governments looked at to replace the loss of Coastal Community Credit Union who left the community last year. Although the CCCU still offer services in Port McNeill, businesses and residents found the loss a significant inconvenience. According to the Vancity press release nearly half the residents are “dissatisfied with the access they have to banking services.”

 

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