East Coast Credit Union and mem­bers meet to dis­cuss fu­ture

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY ERIN POTTIE

PORT HAWKES­BURY — An East Coast Credit Union meet­ing is be­ing seen as a pos­i­tive step to­ward pre­vent­ing branch clo­sures.

Rich­mond County Coun. Malcolm Beaton, who rep­re­sents ar­eas from D’Es­cousse to Rocky Bay, said an af­ter­noon ses­sion in Port Hawkes­bury on Sun­day al­lowed both the com­pany and its mem­bers to ex­press con­cerns over the eco­nomic chal­lenges fac- ing three of the com­pany’s 13 branches.

Cit­ing fi­nan­cial con­cerns, the bank­ing co-op­er­a­tive an­nounced in Novem­ber it would close branches in North East Mar­ga­ree in Mar­ga­ree Cen­tre, North Isle Madame in D’Es­cousse, and Mul­grave.

The clo­sures and the loss of seven full-time jobs was ex­pected to take place at the end of Fe­bru­ary, how­ever, the credit union’s board of direc­tors de­layed the de­ci­sion fol­low­ing a pub­lic out­cry from mem­bers and com- mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“I think the boards them­selves re­al­ize that there wasn’t enough con­sul­ta­tion be­fore they came up with that orig­i­nal de­ci­sion,” said Beaton. “Now that there’s been a re­prieve put on by th­ese three branches, the mem­ber­ship has to re­al­ize if th­ese three branches are to sur­vive, as well as all the branches at East Coast, what they have to do is make sure they are sup­port­ing their lo­cal branch.”

East Coast Credit Union pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Doug Hast­ings said he was disap- pointed that only about 125 peo­ple at­tended the meet­ing. He said al­though the com­pany is in good shape fi­nan­cially, de­posits are grow­ing faster than loans, which has im­pacted the com­pany’s re­turn prof­its. He ad­mits com­mu­ni­ca­tion with mem­bers in deal­ing with the clo­sures wasn’t the best.

“ We need more busi­ness to sus­tain the op­er­a­tion,” said Hast­ings. “Our loans aren’t grow­ing like they used to and the in­ter­est rate is low, and in that en­vi­ron­ment our rev­enue strain tight­ens up a bit.”

The Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Hospi­tal Foun­da­tion was pre­sented with $66,000 in do­na­tions from con­tribut­ing Cape Bre­ton Build­ing Trades Coun­cil union lo­cals and union­ized con­trac­tors dur­ing MacDon­ald’s visit to the hospi­tal.

This is in ad­di­tion to the $725,000 con­tri­bu­tion made by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment on Fri­day to help buy state-of-the-art di­ag­nos­tic and sur­gi­cal equip­ment for the can­cer cen­tre. Credit union branches in Cape Bre­ton also con­trib­uted $250,000 ear­lier this month.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment had al­ready an­nounced its in­ten­tion to spend $5 mil­lion on the can­cer cen­tre ex­pan­sion project through its health-care wait times guar­an­tee agree­ment with the prov­ince.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.