In these unprecedented and turbulent times in the COVID-19 crisis, we will be providing ongoing updates on the actions BlueShore Financial is taking to safeguard the health and well-being of our clients, our employees and their families.
A message from Chris Catliff, President and CEO
April 30, 2020
Hear from our CEO on how we are supporting our clients as well as ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our employees and community while we provide an essential service.
Messages from CEO & Executive Leadership
- Reg Marrinier, Senior Vice President, Retail and Business Banking (April 7)
It seems almost inconceivable that we are more than a month into the regimen of physical distancing and sheltering at home. And we know from the health authorities that it's critical we maintain this discipline to flatten the curve of the virus contagion in BC.
We are here to help our clients through these exceptionally challenging times and to be as responsive and flexible as possible in adapting to this ever-changing situation.
Branch closures and hours
We've temporarily closed some branches and reduced operating hours for those that remain open. This allows us to significantly increase the capacity of our Solution Centre to handle the growth in call volumes – particularly for those clients seeking help with mortgage deferrals and reassurance about their savings and investments.
In addition, we are closing all branches on Saturday, April 11 of the Easter long weekend, to give our front-line employees a well-deserved break. We will still maintain our normal Saturday hours of service at the Solution Centre (9:00am-5:00pm).
Please continue to check the website for the most current information on branch hours.
Branch access: We need your help
We need your help to continue to reduce the number of visits to our branches, to help protect our clients, employees and communities. Before coming to a BlueShore branch, please take a minute to call our Solution Centre (604.982.8000 or 1.888.713.6728). In almost all circumstances, our Associates will be able to assist you – saving you the trip and making it safer for everyone.
New and key features of Online Banking
As more clients embrace new ways of managing their everyday banking through BlueShore's Online Banking and Mobile App, we'd like to highlight a few key features beyond the basics of checking account balances, paying bills and transferring money:
- NEW: CRA Direct Deposit – Through Online Banking (desktop only), you can set up or modify your CRA direct deposit instructions, so you get your government benefit payments faster. This includes the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), income tax refunds, GST/HST credits and more.
- Mobile Deposit – Using the BlueShore Mobile App, you can quickly and easily deposit cheques to your personal or business account, simply by taking a photo on your smartphone. More convenient, and no need to visit a BlueShore ATM or branch.
- Financial alerts – Stay on top of the timing of funds moving in and out of your account by setting up text or email alerts. They can notify you of Low Balance (falls below a threshold you've determined) and Deposit (when funds over a specified amount are posted to your account – for example, Government benefit payments).
- Pre-authorized deposits and payments – In addition to setting up CRA direct deposits, you may also be adding more automated debits and credits to your account. To do this, you need your account, institution and transit numbers; learn more here or call the Solution Centre for assistance.
If you need any assistance to set up or use Online Banking, we're happy to help. Just contact the Solution Centre at 604.982.8000 (1.888.713.6728).
Helping you track Government financial relief resources
BlueShore is working diligently with personal and business clients dealing with COVID-19 financial hardship on a case-by-case basis regarding credit relief and mortgage deferrals. But there is also a myriad of federal and provincial government programs, with more being announced daily, that provide emergency financial relief to individuals and businesses during these exceptionally challenging times.
We've brought together the links to a number of these programs in our Government Financial Resources page, to save you time and simplify your research .
Please continue to check our website for the most current updates at blueshorefinancial.com/COVID-19. We sincerely thank all our clients for their patience as we work together to find our way forward through these very difficult times.
Senior Vice President, Retail & Business Banking
- Chris Catliff, President and CEO (March 27)
The constant barrage of news and daily changes to our personal and work situations stemming from the COVID-19 crisis are all-consuming right now. In addition to concerns about your health and that of your loved ones, the financial stress of dealing with the COVID-19 impact on your household income, employment, investments and retirement savings may be keeping you up at night, as it is many people.
Please know that we are here to help our clients through these extraordinary and difficult times. And we are committed to being the trusted financial partner you can rely on now – and for the long run.
We have taken important, concrete steps so that we can continue to provide essential financial services to our clients while ensuring the health and safety of our employees and our communities.
We've launched our financial relief program. We are working with clients coping with COVID-19 financial hardship on a case-by-case basis if they need interim relief to skip a mortgage payment, defer payments for several months or shift to interest-only payments. You can find more details on this program on our COVID-19 resource page; call us if you have questions about your own eligibility for assistance.
We've increased physical distancing through temporary branch closures and reduced branch hours. We've now closed half of our branches. Thank you for your understanding and support of this measure; it's also giving us the flexibility to ramp up our Solution Centre capabilities to deal with much higher call volumes. For the protection of both clients and staff at open branches, we've installed plexiglass shields at teller stations, increased cleaning and sanitation measures, and implemented door monitoring to limit the number of people in the branch at any given time.
We've become a more "virtual" workforce. Our technology team has been working non-stop to set up all our support departments and advisors to work from home, again helping our communities through physical distancing and alleviating some of the stress on employees dealing with childcare needs.
We're proactively contacting clients to check in on their financial well-being. Our advisors are busy reaching out to clients to see how they can assist with any COVID-19-related cash flow or budget issues, anxiety over volatile investment markets, and debt repayment challenges. And you needn't wait for us to contact you; call or email your advisor or our Solution Centre if you have questions or just need to talk through the financial questions that are adding to your stress.
We're reminding clients of all the "digital" ways to deal with us. Clients normally used to conducting their business in-branch may be less familiar with our Online and Mobile Banking capabilities. These cover a full range of day-to-day banking activities, including the ability to check account balances, make bill payments, transfer funds (and send or receive e-Transfers), deposit cheques (through the Mobile App), and more.
If you are not set up for Online Banking, please contact the Solution Centre by phone, live web chat or online form. We can get you going, walk you through the features and functions, and answer any questions.
We're going to weather this challenging time by working together.
For nearly 80 years, BlueShore Financial has been helping clients through difficult times. We have an experienced leadership team able to adapt to the daily changes the COVID-19 crisis is bringing; our employees are committed to finding new and creative ways to continue to provide exceptional client service. And most important, we are grateful for the support and patience of our clients as we determine together what the "new normal" looks like.
Please stay focused on remaining healthy and supporting your loved ones while we continue to work though this challenging time together.
President and CEO
- Reg Marrinier, Senior Vice President, Retail and Business Banking (March 18)
The accelerating pace of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates that we take decisive action to further safeguard the health and safety of our clients and our employees. As a result, we are temporarily closing four BlueShore branches and reducing hours of operation for those that remain open, effective Friday, March 20th.
This decision will enable us to support increased social distancing, in keeping with BC’s declared public health state of emergency, while still having locations open in each “region”. Staff from the closed branch locations will be redeployed to work remotely, to be available to respond to an increased volume of client inquiries through our Solution Centre, and to backfill positions in those branches that remain open.
By taking this action in a proactive way, we ensure we have the staffing flexibility to meet all clients’ needs as more and more switch to dealing with our Solution Centre (by phone, email or live chat) or through Online and Telephone Banking channels.
Branches temporarily closing until further notice.
Branch Closing Recommended Alternative Branch Locations Marine Drive, North Vancouver Park Royal, Edgemont, Lonsdale Lynn Valley, North Vancouver Edgemont, Lonsdale Kerrisdale, Vancouver West Broadway Pemberton Whistler Village
We will re-evaluate the situation – and the potential need to consider additional branch closings – as more becomes known about the success of measures to “flatten the curve” and stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
- Reduced hours of operation in remaining branches. All remaining branches – Lonsdale, Edgemont, Park Royal, Parkgate, Whistler Village, Squamish, West Broadway, Pender, Burnaby – will be open reduced hours, 10:00am - 4:00pm Monday-Friday and 10:00am-3:00pm on Saturdays. (The exception is our Pender branch, which is closed on Saturdays.)
We know that these steps will inconvenience some clients and the way they normally manage their business with BlueShore Financial. However, these are extraordinary times, and we appreciate your understanding and patience as we all work together to try to contain the spread of this pandemic.
If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your advisor or our Solution Centre at 604.982.8000 or 1.888.713.6728.
Senior Vice President, Retail and Business Banking
- Chris Catliff, President and CEO (March 17)
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, I want you to know that at BlueShore Financial we are doing everything we can to support you through these challenging times. It's uncharted waters for the global community in all respects - health, economy, markets, social norms, and more. And while we are all being inundated with non-stop messages about changing circumstances, here is some important information from BlueShore.
- Your money is safe. All funds on deposit at BlueShore Financial are 100% protected and guaranteed by the Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation of BC. Our organization is strong and stable, and our experienced management team is well-equipped to adapt to these evolving conditions.
- Expert financial advice when you need it. We're sure you have a lot of questions as you sift through the daily round of ever-changing COVID-19 messages. How will this affect my retirement savings? What about my mortgage payments? Will I still be able to proceed with a planned purchase or property investment? This is the time we can be of greatest help; please reach out to one of our experienced advisors for assistance and advice.
- You have options for accessing your finances. While all BlueShore branches are currently open for business, this is being assessed daily. Any changes will be communicated on our website. As we practise the recommended "social distancing", we encourage clients to avoid coming into a branch unless you need to. There are a number of other ways we can support you in managing your money:
- Call our Solution Centre (604.982.8000 or 1.888.713.6728) for assistance with virtually any financial question or transaction
- Use Online or Mobile Banking to check account balances, transfer funds, pay bills, send and receive e-Transfers, and more. (Please keep in mind that Online and Mobile Banking will be unavailable during our system upgrade, April 9-13.)
- Use any of the 4,500 EXCHANGE or ACCULINK ATMs surcharge free; they are easy to locate using the BlueShore Mobile Banking App
- Meet "virtually" with your advisor, connecting by phone, email or video conference
- What we’re doing to keep our clients and employees safe. If you do need to come into a branch, be assured we are taking every precaution by adhering to all recommended personal hygiene and facilities deep-cleaning practices. Our in-branch signature beverage service has been suspended, as have "tester" samples of the Spa products we sell in branch (if you are not familiar with this program, we donate 100% of sale proceeds to BC Children’s Hospital).
- All BlueShore-hosted events have been postponed. In keeping with the social distancing mandate, we are postponing all BlueShore events – corporate- and branch-based – until further notice. Most significantly for our members, this means we are postponing our Annual General Meeting, previously scheduled to take place on April 22. We have not yet set a new date. In the interim, we will be posting an online Annual Report in early April; audited financial statements for the Credit Union are already available on the website.
As this situation continues to evolve, we're committed to keeping you informed. If you have any questions, please contact us at 604.982.8000 or 1.888.713.6728.
President and CEO