Kootenay Savings’ downtown Castlegar Branch, as of sometime in May will no longer offer personalized, over-the-counter banking to its membership. Although that portion of its service will be available only at the uptown Crossroads branch, ATM and night deposit capability will still be accessible at the location on the corner of 4th Street and 10th Avenue. Certain administrative functions will also continue to be performed downtown.
The credit union’s vice-president, marketing, Dario Cescon says it was the financial institution’s plan to keep the downtown branch operating, even following the opening of the new Crossroads branch in South Castlegar in 2011, but the numbers suggested otherwise.
“We’ve been looking at it for a little while,” he told the Castlegar News on Feb. 14. “We’ve been monitoring our transaction levels between the two branches and we see the membership moving to the Crossroads branch more and more. So we made the decision earlier this year that we would have to consolidate the two branches.”
It had been membership demand, according to Cescon, that the South Castlegar branch had been created, and now the feeling is that overall service levels may be improved with the consolidation. What it apparently came down to was the shift in consumer trends, the drop-off in demand for in-person banking service overall.
“Members are using more effective ways to bank,” added Cescon, “they’ve got email, they’ve got online banking. Lots of members are using tablets and smartphones now.”
The VP pointed to the variety offered at Crossroads…”a little bit more advisory services, investment and wealth management, help with mortgages, commercial services… we have a really robust offering in that branch.”
Cescon estimated the net reduction of positions resulting from the downtown changes at between two and three, and that options for relocation at other branches would made available to affected staff.
“Some positions may become part-time,” Cescon concluded, “but, as always the opportunity is to go into other Kootenay Savings positions.”