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A Message From Kathy Conway | CEO

A Safe Welcome Back | June 5, 2020

To our valued members,

Nine weeks ago today, as cases of COVID-19 were on the rise and the Province was urging businesses to help flatten the curve, Interior Savings announced that we would be temporarily changing the way we serve our members. We moved to phone and email support and provided in-branch service by appointment only.

We know that was not an easy adjustment for some of our members and we are grateful for your patience and for sticking with us as we did what we believe was in the best interest of our members, our employees and our communities.

I am happy to announce that, beginning Monday June 8th, we will begin to safely re-open our branches to walk-in traffic. It will be a gradual process. To start, all our credit union branches will remain at reduced hours to support members with basic banking services. You will be able to walk-in to a branch to receive assistance with things like opening an account, getting a new member card, or making a deposit or bill payment. For more complex needs, like mortgages or financial planning, our account managers will continue to serve you by phone, email or by appointment. Since our account manager’s offices cannot accommodate the required 6-foot distancing, we need to complete installation of plexi-shields and those, unfortunately, are on back-order. We hope to receive them later this month at which time our account managers can begin to see more members in branch. Our insurance offices will also begin accepting walk-in traffic with reduced hours and can support all of your insurance needs.

As a province, and as a community, we have sacrificed and we have done well at flattening the curve of COVID-19.  Though, as Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week, “To keep COVID-19 at bay, we need to stay slow and low with fewer faces and bigger spaces. A slow and gradual return ensures we can continue to keep our curve flat and protect our loved ones and ourselves”.

We still strongly encourage members to call, go to our website, or use our online banking as alternatives to coming into a branch. That continues to be the safest option. That being said, we understand it’s not for everyone and we do look forward to seeing our members in person again.

If you need to come into a branch, rest assured we are taking every precaution to keep both yourself and our employees safe. In accordance with WorkSafeBC’s new standards, we have implemented a COVID-19 Safety Plan that includes measures such as:

  • Continuing to frequently sanitize high touch surfaces.
  • Supporting social distancing by limiting the number of people in branch at any one time, installing floor decals and signage to direct members, and installing plexi-shields where it’s difficult to maintain 6-feet of distance.
  • Making hand sanitizer available to staff and members, and supplying our employees and members with gloves and non-medical masks should they wish to use them.
  • Ensuring no one is allowed on premise if they are experiencing any COVID symptoms or have been advised by Public Health to self-quarantine.

As our community opens back up and we all look forward to things returning to normal, I would like to take a moment to reflect on some of the lessons we’ve learned and the things that have come to light over these past few months. This pandemic has been difficult on all of us but it has had a far more profound impact on those who, in the best of times, already face barriers, exclusion, threats, and harm. It is not news that we have work to do as a society. The recent acts of racism and violence against the Black community and others, underscore that positive change is needed and that we all have to step up.

We strongly support the need to take forward the lessons learned and continue working to protect human rights, to ensure equal chance and to stamp out discrimination. At Interior Savings, we are grateful to be able to support the work of many local non-profits like the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, United Way, CMHA, the Foundry and many others who work hard every day to create a more inclusive and supportive community where everyone has the chance to achieve their potential. We believe that diversity of people, perspectives and backgrounds make us all stronger.

Take care,

Kathy Conway,
President & CEO


Read Past Letters to our Members

​Approaching the Road to Recovery | May 29, 2020

To our valued members,

Under the direction of our provincial authority, our communities are taking the first tentative steps forward into economic recovery. While we all recognize this summer will be far from ‘normal’, it is encouraging to be able to get out into the community a bit more to visit with friends and family and to support our local businesses. Of course, how smooth and how long this road to recovery is will depend on all of us. We must take it slowly and continue practicing good hygiene and 6-foot social distancing.

At Interior Savings, we are planning to reopen our branches to walk-in traffic soon. In preparation, we are getting all the necessary protective equipment and protocols in place to ensure the wellbeing of members and employees and to meet WorkSafeBC standards. Watch for an update in the next week or two on our planned approach to safely re-opening. In the meantime, we’re here and ready to support you by phone, email, ATM, online banking and, as needed, are happy to book an in person appointment at a time that works for you. 

In my last update, I introduced a special Community Impact Term Deposit. From May 1st to May 30th, members could invest to receive a 2% return while Interior Savings committed a matching 2% to top up our Community Relief Fund, adding up to an additional $50,000 to the Fund. The response from members was overwhelming and I’m happy to say, with your support, we will be awarding a full $150,000 in grants to help local non-profits adapt to this pandemic.  We have already awarded a first wave of grants and will be announcing more next week. Non-profits can apply for funding until May 31st.

To all our members, I would like to again express our gratitude for your support and your patience as we work through this pandemic together. We recognize many still face reduced employment and many local businesses are hurting. To date, Interior Savings has deferred over 1,100 loans and mortgages for members. We have loosened our bursary criteria and awarded $1,000 bursaries to 618 students and given another 161 students an extension. We have approved many loan deferrals to business members and processed over $20 million in emergency funding through the Federal Government’s Canadian Emergency Business Account.

For those who joined us at our virtual Annual General Meeting a few weeks ago, you will have seen our 2019 Annual Report and heard me share that our Credit Union remains in a strong position to weather this pandemic and to help our members and communities do the same.

Watch for another update soon on our re-opening plans. Until then, continue to take care of yourself and your loved ones. And remember, we are here to help you on this journey.

Thank you and stay well,

Kathy Conway,
President & CEO

​Stronger Together | May 1, 2020

To our valued members,

As the pandemic continues to create upheaval in our communities, some of the most impacted are our non-profit organizations who are seeing donations decline while requests for their services are increasing, and costs are mounting. Higher demand for food and essentials, more spent on health and sanitization supplies, and unplanned investments in technology are having a toll on these already strained organizations.

When many in our communities are relying on these service organizations, it’s important that we do what we can to help.  In response to this need, I’m pleased to announce that Interior Savings is launching a $100,000 Community Relief Fund. Beginning today, non-profits can apply to us for support in covering some of the extraordinary costs they face as they respond to this pandemic. You can learn more about our Community Relief Fund here.

As a cooperative organization, we know that we can do even more when we work together, and so we are also launching a Community Impact Term Deposit. This special one-year term deposit will reward members with an above-market interest rate of 2% while also leveraging their investment to support local relief efforts. For every dollar invested, we will add 2% to the Community Relief Fund, up to another $50,000 for a potential total of $150,000. I invite you to learn more about our Community Impact Term Deposit here

We know the economic toll is also having a significant impact on small business. We continue to work with our business members to help bridge them through this challenging time. I am happy to report that we have now processed over 330 applications to the Federal Government’s Canadian Emergency Business Account loan program and the funds are already starting to flow into members’ accounts. I would like to thank our business members for their patience as we got that program set up, and also the employees in our Commercial team who, at their own volition, worked through the weekend to help members access these funds more quickly. You can learn more about this program and other supports for your business here

As always, we remain grateful to our members. By choosing to bank with us, your money stays in our community, providing jobs, local financing, and support for vital community programs and services. 

Thank you and stay well,

Kathy Conway,
President & CEO

​People before profits | April 24, 2020

To our valued members,

A mere 44 days ago, the World Health Organization proclaimed COVID-19 as a global pandemic. So much has already happened in just a few short weeks, the affects of which will be felt by our members and our communities for some time. And we’re not through it yet. 

While there’s a hint from the Province that social distancing restrictions could be gradually reduced in the weeks to come, our community is advised to hold strong a little longer. 

Rest assured, as a cooperative organization, we are guided by values that put people before profits and hold community support at the heart of who we are and what we do.

We remain ready to help members who are facing financial hardship. To date, we have deferred over 1,100 loans and continue to work with members to find solutions to help them through this. We are extending our commitment to waive Interac e-transfer fees on all accounts until June 30th. Our credit card partner, Collabria Financial, has announced a number of financial relief measures including payment deferrals and a lowered interest rate for those who need the assistance. And, after a challenging week of getting everything in order to support our business members in receiving loans through the Federal Government’s new Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA), I am happy to report we have processed our first applications. Please visit our website or click this link to learn about this program and how to apply.

As we work to help our members through this, we recognize that we can’t do it alone. Now, more than ever, our community service organizations need our support. I am happy to share that we have pledged $50,000 to support the United Way and others in their COVID-19 relief efforts and that we have more news coming. Stay tuned for an announcement in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, as we do everything we can to help reduce the spread of this virus, we continue to remain available to our members for telephone and email service and for in-person appointments as needed. Also, this year, for the first time ever, we will be holding our Annual General Meeting online. The meeting is scheduled for May 12th at 7pm. Members interested in attending are asked to register by April 30th. Click here to learn more

Thank you again to our members for your understanding and support as we continue to learn and adjust in these very challenging times. We couldn’t do what we do without you.

Also, on behalf of Interior Savings I would like to again express my gratitude to our health care workers and to all those who continue working on the frontlines to provide essential services.

Take care,

Kathy Conway,
President & CEO

​Flattening the curve | April 9, 2020

To our valued members,

They say unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, which indeed has proved true for Interior Savings. On Monday of this week, our branches began serving members over telephone, email, and by appointment only. In our 80-year history of serving our communities, I believe this is a first.

This change is an adjustment for everyone – our members and our team here at Interior Savings. So why do it? We believe the change is necessary at this time to do our part to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 and to protect members and staff.

While our Member Service Centre is now answering nearly twice as many calls as they normally would, they have managed to keep the average wait time to only 90 seconds.

As the impacts of COVID-19 continue to be felt, know that we are here to help our members get through this. To date, we have deferred payments on over 800 personal and business loans. We have introduced a new option in online banking where members can sign up to have tax refunds and benefit payments deposited directly to their accounts, helping them access this money faster. We have waived fees on all Interac e-transfers, and we continue to work with each and every member to help where we can. If you are an individual experiencing financial hardship, please book a phone appointment to talk to someone on our team. If you are a business owner working with our Commercial Services team, please reach out to your account manager if you need advice or solutions to help manage liquidity during this difficult time. The Government of Canada programs will be available through Interior Savings soon; please visit the Business Financial Relief page on our website for more information.

As a valued member of our credit union, if there’s anything you need or if you have feedback you’d like to share, please know that we would love to hear from you. In the meantime, I encourage you to visit our website often for up-to-date information on service hours, helpful resources and updates on COVID-related scams to watch out for.

As we approach this Easter Weekend, I wish you and your families well and encourage you to reach out (from a distance) to friends, family and essential workers to spread some joy and encouragement.

Take care,

Kathy Conway,
President & CEO

Changes to how we serve you | April 3, 2020

To our valued members,

In a joint statement on April 1st, Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, urged the people in our province to “step up our game now.”

We are at a critical juncture in helping BC flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak and so it’s more important than ever that we all practice social distancing, stay at home as much as possible and take extra precautions to help our communities get through this.  For Interior Savings, this means making further temporary changes to our branch hours and services to help protect our staff and members.

Effective Monday April 6th, we will be shifting our service to phone, online and by appointment only. As we make these changes, rest assured we are here to serve you. We will continue to deliver the same high level of personalized service our members have come to expect from us. Just in a slightly different way. Our branch employees are just a phone call or email away. You can reach us online, through our Member Service Centre, or you can call your local branch directly. Our team is able to support you with almost all of your needs over the phone and we are happy to show you step-by-step how to use our online channels if that is your preference. Our ATMs and Night Deposit remain in service and, to help you with using less cash, we have waived all Interac e-transfer fees from March 24th to April 30th.

In some instances, meeting in person will still be needed and so we will book an appointment in-branch, at a time that works for you, while continuing to keep the branch clean and all surfaces sanitized.

We are finding that things can change quickly and from time to time, we may temporarily close branches to allow our staff to take care of their health and their families during this difficult period, and so we encourage you to check our website for current hours of service and notifications of branch closures.  We have also posted information on our website about our financial relief program as well as many helpful links for things like ICBC renewals, online banking and other timely resources.

While we will indeed miss the familiar smiling faces of the members we see on a regular basis, this is only temporary. We remain here for you and hope to be able to have our branches fully open again soon. We will evaluate the situation weekly and adjust our operations as needed to best serve our members and our community.

Throughout this all, I remain grateful to our employees who continue to show compassion and commitment to helping our members through this difficult time, and to our members for showing patience and compassion in return as they adapt to new ways of banking.  Of course, I would be remiss not to acknowledge our health care workers who are working diligently on the front lines to help us all get through this, and to all those providing needed services. We’re making these new changes to help reduce the spread of this virus, for the good of all our communities.

Kathy Conway,
President & CEO

​An update to our members | March 27, 2020

To our Valued Members,

So much has happened in only a few weeks. We are all doing our best to adapt to changes around us and to keep our families, our employees, and our communities safe and healthy, while trying to maintain some semblance of normality. In listening to the media, amidst the increased number of cases and challenges that every country is facing, it is heartening to hear stories of good deeds and everyday heroes. We are also finding different ways of staying connected and sharing experiences that many wouldn’t have considered before. I’m participating in a Stay at Home Gala this weekend aimed at uniting people and benefitting charities. Interior Savings is proud to be supporting the event.

As a business operating in this environment, and as an essential service, we need to be here for you to access financial services. We are committed to helping you get through this this and so we are adding a section to our website on the financial relief that we can offer should you need it. Please check out www.interiorsavings.com/COVID-19 to see the latest updates we have provided on the Covid-19 pandemic as it relates to how we serve you.

We too need to adapt to how things are changing everyday, and so you may see more changes coming in how we operate. As we continue to move more of our employees out of the office, or limit access to in-person appointments, we sincerely appreciate your support, patience and loyalty. For us, as a Credit Union built on relationships, this new world of social-distancing can be difficult, but it is vitally important that we all adhere to the guidelines. To help with that, we will be installing plexiglass screens in our locations over the coming week and will continue the robust cleaning and sanitization processes I noted in an earlier message.

This message would not be complete without an acknowledgement of the entire team here at Interior Savings. Everyone has rallied to protect the safety of members and fellow employees while continuing to meet our members’ everyday needs and, in many cases, to respond with compassion, reassurance and solutions to help people get through. Our people are our difference and next time you talk to one of them over the phone, or over a 2-meter distance, please thank them. I am truly grateful for the wonderful team here. 

To all individuals, in particular our health care workers on the front line, who are putting community first and working hard to maintain essential services in a time of such uncertainty and unrest, thank you.

Take care and stay healthy,

Kathy Conway,
President & CEO

​As the Covid-19 pandemic continues | March 20, 2020

To Our Valued Members,

In my message last week, I said I would keep you updated with changes Interior Savings is making as we navigate through these challenging times. One thing that has not changed is the importance of safety and security of our members, our communities and our team here at Interior Savings.

We will be reducing branch hours effective Monday March 23rd. We strongly believe that access to  financial services is important for all our members. We are however, seeing reduced branch traffic and when combined with caring for our employees through social distancing, work-at-home options and their needs for care of school-age children, a reduction in branch opening times is our best course of action. We will also be limiting the number of members in our locations, at any given time.

Branch hours will be monitored on a continual basis and could change quickly in response to the health and safety of our members and staff,  so I ask that you please check our website before planning to visit a branch.

On the subject of branch visits, in line with BC government recommendations for social distancing, we are encouraging employees to meet with members over the phone rather than in person, when possible. Don’t be surprised if you receive a call from one of our account managers to find out the best way to assist you with your financial needs.

Our Member Service Centre hours of operation are not changing at this time. Calling into our Member Service Centre is one of several options we have in place to serve you. Our Online and Mobile banking platforms are available to you 24/7.

The Covid-19 pandemic has wide reaching implications for all of us. That includes some potential financial stress for members, both from a personal and business perspective. We are here to help you and to answer your questions. To that end, we have created a Covid-19 section of our website that will keep you up-to-date on how Interior Savings is continuing to meet your financial needs. A ”frequently asked questions” section is addressing items such as

  • Banking Services and member support, including loan payment deferral options
  • Travel Insurance and Mastercard/Visa Insurance
  • Market and Investment impacts
  • Minimizing the Spread of the Virus, and how we are protecting staff and members.

Interior Savings believes in the strength of our communities – we will get through this working together, and supporting each other.

To our employees and to all individuals who are working hard to maintain essential services in a time of such uncertainty and unrest, thank you. In particular, I would like to acknowledge our healthcare workers on the front line who are putting our community first as they work tirelessly to contain the virus.

Take care and stay healthy,

Kathy Conway,
President & CEO

Navigating through Covid-19 | March 13, 2020

To Our Valued Members,

During this time of uncertainty surrounding the spread of COVID-19, we want to reassure you that we are taking all the necessary steps to protect the health and wellbeing of staff and members and that we have plans in place to ensure you have continued access to the services you need.

The safety of our staff and our members is always our top priority. While the risk of contracting this virus is currently deemed low, we recognize this could change rapidly and have already begun taking extra precautions such as:

  • Implementing more thorough and frequent ATM and branch cleaning, including the disinfection of high-touch surfaces.
  • Asking our employees to stay home if they are unwell and procedures for reporting any concerns about exposure to COVID-19.
  • Suspending all business-related international travel.

We are also asking for our members’ help.  At this time,  all our branches are operating with regular hours. If you, or someone you’ve been in close contact with, are experiencing flu-like symptoms or have recently travelled to an area with a known COVID-19 outbreak, we ask you to contact us by phone instead of coming into the branch.

We are able to serve you in ways that don’t require a visit to the branch,  including our Member Service Centre,  our online banking and our mobile banking app. If you are not already enrolled in online banking services, we encourage you to contact us now to get set up.

Rest assured, we are here and ready to support our members throughout these trying times. If you need any assistance, please call us at 1-855-220-2580.  We will keep you updated as to any changes to our operations as we respond to this current situation.

Sincerely,

Kathy Conway,
President and CEO
Interior Savings Credit Union