Sunday 17 March 2024

Fingers Crossed For Integris Credit Union

    Our little Village of McBride has one bank.  The Bank of Nova Scotia, a big international financial corporation owns Scotia Bank, and it has decided to pack up and move out of McBride, in search of Big Money elsewhere.  Losing our only bank is devastating for the residents and businesses of our community.  The loss of our bank will not only leave us without the normal everyday banking services that we need, but also will leave us without the only cash machine in the whole big isolated area.

    Our only hope is that some other financial institution might move in to help us.  Integris, a credit union with a handful of branches around the Central Interior of British Columbia, seems to be our best hope.

    Yesterday we went to a meeting in Dunster where Dan Wingham, a spokesman for Integris from  Prince George, spoke and answered questions about a possible branch in McBride.  It was a very informative meeting, which answered some of my questions.  Here are some of the things I learned:

    I had assumed that maybe Integris could buy and move into the Scotia Bank building which is all set up for a bank, and take over business with the safe and all of the other banking hardware there. 

     How naive I was.  Dan told us that Scotia Bank would never allow that to happen.  They want all their present banking customers, to just move all of their money and banking services to a branch in Prince George, 220 km (135 miles away).  Fat chance that will happen, but Scotia Bank are not going to make it easy for another financial institution to set up in McBride.  They will certainly not allow Integris to buy their building, and will probably put a covenant on any sale of the building to prevent any other financial institution to be run from it.  I guess that means another empty building sitting in McBride.

    Dan said if the Integris Credit Union did set up in McBride, it would have to start very small, and have its banking services in another building, which would probably only be open 2 or 3 days a week, until the  customer base increased.  

    The decision to possibly open in McBride will be made by the Integris Board meeting in July.  

    If Robson Valley residents want Integris to serve the area, the best thing we could do would be open an account in the credit union, to indicate to the Board that there is real interest to have that happen.

    We will certainly be doing that,  the community really needs the banking services, and Integris, a credit union, is not run by far away corporate types, but by board members, elected by the members of the credit union, and being a member of the credit union is a requirement for using its services.

    I really like credit unions and since moving to Canada in 1973, we have had money in the VanCity Credit Union, (one of the biggest and community-minded financial institutions in BC) and we have been very pleased with how it operates.  I will certainly support and work toward getting Integris to set up in McBride.

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1 comment:

  1. Even if only open 2 days a week , that would be better than no bank at all!