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LETTER: Credit union lets down its members

COVID has negatively affected citizens’ ability to deal with governments, businesses and institutions: communications are reduced to anonymously answered emails and impossible phone wait times. What a gift to those entities choosing to be unaccountable to those they serve.

Such is the case of Coast Capital Savings. Due to expansion 8-10 years ago and elevation to the federal level of banking, it no longer functions as a credit union, contrary to its marketing.

The James Bay branch was shuttered until September, the ATM often not working. Members were notified in September about the January branch closure. That only three members participated in an October phone ‘consultation’, with no answers to their questions, speaks volumes about effective communications.

Many members voicing their upset to branch or head office staff receive no satisfying answers, nor replies to their written communications. My letter to the CEO and Ombudsman resulted in a dismissive response signed by two underlings. Letters to the elected board of directors go unanswered.

James Bay has the highest concentration of Victoria’s seniors, many Coast Capital members, who do not use technology. As options, CC directs them to stand in line outside the downtown Bay branch, or go to Tillicum or Shelbourne. (The Oak Bay branch isn’t suggested, so does this mean it will be closing?)

Coast Capital Savings could have initiated the conversation with its James Bay members much earlier than September. It didn’t, and using COVID restrictions to advantage, the behaviour of staff and elected directors clearly shows how far this institution has strayed from credit union principles and member accountability.

Pat McGuire

Victoria