Pending closure of credit union leaves North Okanagan village with one bank | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Pending closure of credit union leaves North Okanagan village with one bank

The Lumby branch of Valley First Credit Union is closing on Nov. 10, 2020.
September 18, 2020 - 3:29 PM

Due to the shift to online banking, which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Lumby's Valley First Credit Union will be closing its doors this fall.

First West Credit Union announced the closure Sept. 15, stating the Lumby subsidiary branch will close its doors on Nov. 10. The bank's closure will leave its customers with a 50 kilometres round trip to their nearest branch in Vernon.

"Our members are increasingly handling their banking online or through our Member Advice Centre, which means their branch visits are more for advice-driven conversations," Valley First president Paulo Araujo said in a media release. "This behavioural shift has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and, as a result, we are consolidating our branch network, investing in technology and creating new front-line roles to meet the evolving needs of our members and remain a financially strong member-owned co-operative during a time of considerable economic uncertainty."

On the same day, Valley First announced its departure from Lumby, the credit union donated $25,000 to Lumby Public Library. The credit union has donated close to $190,000 to the library since 2012.

"Valley First also made future commitments to several other local organizations including Whitevalley Community Resource Centre, Lumby and District Health Services Society and the Lumby Food Bank," the media release says.

A Valley First spokesperson said in an email that all the employees have been provided with "other opportunities within the organization."

Valley First also said the credit union had no plans to consolidate any other branches at this time.

Currently, First West Credit Union has 46 branches throughout B.C. making it the third-largest in the province employing more than 300 people.

It's not just small towns that are seeing bank branches closing, the Royal Bank of Canada closed its downtown Vernon branch in 2019, after 114 years of service.

Valley First's closure will leave the North Okanagan town with only one bank, a Scotiabank branch.

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