Credit union closing on Saturdays

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Islands Savings, Salt Spring’s last remaining financial institution to keep Saturday hours, will cease to offer that service effective Oct. 20.

The loss is expected to have an impact on small business owners and other people who find it difficult to get into the branch during the week.

Lawyer Sarah Hamilton called the news “so frustrating.”

“They should open in the evenings to compensate,” Hamilton said. “In fact, they should be open Saturdays, Sundays and evenings to accommodate the schedules of people who work full time.”

“I’m very disappointed. We go there mostly on Saturdays to get a float for the market,” said Jason Gaffney, who runs an eco-friendly clothing and screen-printing business with his wife Deanna Milligan.

While many local shops have shortened their hours or closed extra days because of staffing issues, Colin Nicols, Island Savings’ vice president of advisory services, said the change does not have to do with staff or housing.

“It’s purely a business decision,” Nicols told the Driftwood.

Nicols was away from the office and not able to answer follow-up questions regarding what the decision was based on or how it might impact local staff.

Island Savings Credit Union was founded in Duncan as the Duncan & District Credit Union in 1951. A Salt Spring branch was initiated in 1975. Island Savings has been at its current location since 1994. The organization became a division of First West Credit Union on Jan. 1, 2015.

Two Islands Savings locations in Victoria went to a five-day business week as of Oct. 1, and only a handful in the region are open on weekends. The Duncan, Nanaimo-Woodgrove and Mill Bay branches are the last to keep Saturday hours.

Salt Spring’s other two banking institutions, BMO and CIBC, are also closed on Saturdays.

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