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Coast Capital redefines banking and introduces innovative branch concept to Kelowna

Credit union moves away from transaction-centric branch to a space dedicated to members' financial well-being

"Coast Capital Savings' new Kelowna branch moves away from strictly transactional with a new branch concept dedicated to improving members' financial well-being."

Kelowna, B.C.: Coast Capital Savings, Canada’s largest credit union by membership, and the first full-service financial institution to offer free chequing in Canada, has opened its doors in Kelowna to bring its exceptional service and commitment to community giving to the Okanagan region through a fresh approach to banking and its innovative branch design.

The credit union’s Kelowna branch marks its first foray into the Okanagan, a move that Don Coulter, Coast Capital’s President and CEO says further demonstrates Coast Capital’s commitment to helping British Columbians move the needle on their financial well-being.

“We are thrilled to open our doors in Kelowna. This is a thriving and fast-growing community that we are really excited to be a part of,” explains Coulter. “Coast Capital has a long and rich history in British Columbia going back 76 years. With our expansion to the Okanagan we are deepening those roots and furthering our commitment to helping even more people in our province through our signature products and service that puts our members at the centre of everything we do.”

With the opening of the new Kelowna branch, Coast Capital is unveiling a new branch concept focused on improving members’ financial well-being. Inspired by the health and fitness industry and the changing face of banking in Canada, the new branch located at 1544 Harvey Road in Kelowna, moves away from the purely transactional nature of the traditional financial institution to create a space for meaningful interactions – a place where members can focus on building a healthy financial future.

“The innovative design, unique features, and overall experience at our re-envisioned branch will facilitate and support Coast Capital’s commitment to help our members realize and optimize their financial success,” said Coulter. “Our reimagined branch concept is a response to the fact that Canadians are increasingly turning to online and mobile banking for their day-to-day transactions. Our branches have to evolve with that reality.”

Recent data shows digital banking has had an impact on the traditional role of bank branches. In a 2014 study, 77 per cent of Canadians reported using online banking in the past year and more than half said the Internet was their primary means of banking.  More than 30 per cent had used mobile banking in the previous year and 43 per cent planned to use it in the future. The study found a corresponding drop in branch visits, with 13 per cent indicating it was their main method of banking.

Kathy McGarrigle, Coast Capital’s chief operating officer, said Kelowna is a great pick for the launch of the credit union’s new branch concept.

“We saw an opportunity to move to a branch design focused on face-to-face conversations about the more important financial needs our members have. From mortgages, to investments to business banking, these are the conversations that move the needle on peoples’ financial success. We are confident that this approach will resonate with the Kelowna community,” McGarrigle said. “Even as Canadians embrace technology for their banking transactions, we know that they also value guidance from trusted financial experts. Our Kelowna branch provides a comfortable and inspiring environment for this kind of member collaboration, financial education, and relationship building.”

McGarrigle said as part of the new concept, the branch manager will be often be there to greet members and  direct them to the expert who is best suited to meet their needs. Instead of offices, there are “Chat Rooms” created to foster interaction. The focal point of the new concept is the Help Lab, a dedicated space where Coast Capital experts can walk through detailed financial information with members and demonstrate ways that their money can be working harder and smarter for them.   

“The Help Lab is the nerve centre of the branch and is equipped with resources, including a library, that enables collaborative assessment of our member’s financial health,” McGarrigle said. “With tools such as our Where You’re at Money Chat, our financial experts will work with members to visualize and establish financial health goals and metrics for success and develop a workable plan to get them there.”

Coast Capital Savings is Canada’s largest credit union by membership. A recipient of the 2015 “Outstanding Corporation” Giving Hearts Award, the credit union invested $5 million into local communities in 2015, focusing on empowering and engaging youth. Coast Capital is one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™, a member of Canada's Best Managed Companies Platinum Club, and an Imagine Canada Caring Company. It has 51 branches serving its 532,000 members in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions of British Columbia. Product innovations include Canada's first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution. To learn more, visit


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