They say “what goes around, comes around.” At the recent AGM for Coastal Community Credit Union, the circle took a reverse direction. The corporate CEO announced to the meeting that they were shutting down credit union services in Sointula, Alert Bay and Quadra, effective on July 1, just as the tourist season is starting.
Citing some undefined 50 statutes or rules about privacy, he asserted he was unable to provide any information about the scale of banking done in those branches but insisted they were “not making money.” Those of us who are lifelong members — some of us even officers and directors of credit unions — find it difficult to believe that profits are the definitive criterion for joining a credit union. More than that, it is hard to imagine a $1.7 billion organization being bled into bankruptcy by a handful of isolated part-time community branches.
The management and its captive directors clearly have lost sight of the deep roots of Canada’s glorious credit union movement. Prairie towns, abandoned by the big banks in the Dirty Thirties, got together and started their own co-operative financial services; maritime fishermen, dependent on seasonal work, were refused financial services by those same big banks so they started their own credit unions; internationally, Canadian co-operators liberated whole communities in the West Indies from inter-generational debt bondage.
The very least those directors who cherish their reputations should do is to take the word “Community” out of their name.