Pender Island losing only bank as Island Savings announces branch closure

Pender Island losing only bank as Island Savings announces branch closure
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A view of North Pender Island's shoreline.

The residents of Pender Island are losing their only bank as Island Savings has announced it will be closing its branch on the island.

On Sept. 15, Kendall Gross, president of Island Savings, division of First West Credit Union, said in a release that due to “steady changes in how members have been accessing our services over time,” the company would be closing the Pender Island branch.

The branch will close on Nov. 10. Island Savings said it would consolidate its Pender Island banking services with the Brentwood branch located at 1-7103 West Saanich Road.

Island Savings also said it will continue to provide financial advice and wealth services on Pender Island through a representative, while also offering an ATM withdrawal rebate to offset the cost of using a non-Island Savings ATM.

Gross also said for the same reason, the Ladysmith branch would be closing, with banking services moving to the Chemainus branch located at 101C-3055 Oak Street.

“These are decisions we’ve made in the best interests of our credit union’s collective membership, as we take necessary action to protect the financial strength we have today well into the future,’ Gross said.

Letters are being sent to branch members on Pender Island and Ladysmith, according to Island Savings.

The Ladysmith branch already temporarily closed in mid-march due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Island Savings opened its branch on Pender Island back in 2012 when HSBC closed after 25 years.

Jo Down, the owner of Jo’s Place restaurant on Pender Island, said the news is definitely sparking conversations on the island.

His restaurant is located near the bank. Down says his business does most of its banking online but other residents who don’t use online banking as much may be more affected.

“I know it’s already a major topic of discussion in the community among people who have been here for a long time,” Down said.

“I know Island Savings spent a lot of time and effort into getting people into signing new accounts…so there is a little bit of animosity.”

Down added he understands businesses changing with the times, as his restaurant has had to move to online ordering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With files from The Times Colonist

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman

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