Valley First

Businesses Seek Out Better Options

Rising bank fees prompt business owners to seek out better options

June 4, 2015

Penticton, B.C.—Recent news about bank fee increases at Canada’s major financial institutions has put many consumers on high alert to hidden account fees.

For a growing number of Okanagan business owners feeling the account-fee squeeze, the time has come to break away from the rising cost of banking and inconsistently applied service charges and find a better alternative.

"My account with a large financial institution was supposed to be 'unlimited'," says Peaches Lingerie owner Christina Conquergood.

"But more and more I found I was being charged inconsistent amounts for nearly everything I did, including the online transactions such as the three government remittances I pay per month. It was becoming outrageous."

These small account charges have been adding up to considerable amounts over the years, to the tune of thousands of dollars. When news of more impending increases broke, Conquergood decided it was time to re-think her banking relationship.

"Beyond the money, the bank just couldn’t seem to provide accountability or consistency in the rates they were charging," she says. "As a business owner, I have a great appreciation for my customers and do all I can to ensure they’re getting the service and products they pay for."

Due to this increasing dissatisfaction, Conquergood recently made the switch to the Unlimited Chequing for Business® Account at First West Credit Union’s Valley First division. The account offers unlimited services, including free pre-authorized online payments, for a flat fee of $20 per month.

"Business owners work hard,” says Heather O'Coin, a business banking advisor with Valley First. "It's our responsibility to do everything we can to help them succeed and make their financial lives as simple as possible. That includes understanding our members' businesses and their banking needs."

While the Conquergood has now made the switch in financial institution, she says it wasn't an easy decision.

"I worked for the bank for more than 20 years and all my accounts, including investments, were there. But I want to do business with an institution that will be accountable and consistent," she says. Conquergood also feels good about keeping her business local.

"I live and work here. Valley First's commitment to, and presence in, the community really sets it apart from the big banks. That means a lot to me."

PHOTO: Looming fee hikes at Canada’s major banks were the last straw for Peaches Lingerie owner Christina Conquergood (right) who switched to First West Credit Union, with some help from advisor Heather O’Coin.

About Valley First

Valley First is a premier provider of banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 54 branches and 38 insurance offices throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Valley First, visit www.valleyfirst.com.

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