A message from Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO

A message from Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO

March 24, 2020

Dear Members,

I heard someone say over the weekend that since COVID-19 came to B.C., a day feels like a week, and a week feels like a year. I suppose that’s true, but to be candid, last Tuesday feels more like a world away. The situation we are in is calling on us to react quickly, and to make changes we never thought we’d have to consider. That includes the way we serve you as members.

You will have seen my message over the weekend about how we are reducing the number of full-service branches – doing so to both give our employees much-needed respite between shifts, and to have more employees available on our phone lines, where many of you are wanting to reach us.

Looking out for employees

As a financial cooperative, our employees are such a huge part of who we are, and I wanted you to know that we have them top of mind as we develop our response. For that reason, we have implemented a new way of working that ensures those in our branches will get one full paid week off for every two weeks they spend working. This is to acknowledge the additional stress they face and to give them a chance to rest during a difficult time.

In addition, when they are on shift, our branch employees will split their time – spending one week serving members in branches, and the other working from home, where they can take your calls.

These changes – including reduced in-branch hours – don’t mean we are reducing the number of employees. Instead, we are re-assigning people to serve you better.

Serving members

In taking this approach, we can be here to serve you and meet your needs for as long as this situation lasts. Because we know that next to your health, and the health of your loved ones, the thing you think about most is what this will mean for your financial future. We know that you are looking to us, now more than ever. And I can assure you that we are here to help – whether that be deferring loan payments, protecting your investments or working with you as you try to meet payroll for your small business.

As we do that, I want to ask for your help. There are a few things we need you to consider doing differently to help us do our part.

  • Use online banking at Vancity.com. Our website and mobile app offer a full range of services, and by using them it will allow us to serve other members who need tailored financial advice.
  • Practice physical distancing. During busy times in our branches, we may need to ask members to not come in and to consider coming back at another time. We’re doing this to make sure members and employees can all keep the needed physical distance.
  • Stay home if you’re sick. If you are sick, I know this will be a stressful time for you and your family. Know that we are here to help and to serve, but please don’t come into our branches. Instead please use online banking or call us – we’re here for you.

Finally, if you do come into our branches, I want to assure you that we are taking precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of our members and our employees. For example, we’ve added plexiglass shields at our wickets to create greater protection. We also continue the heightened cleaning protocols we put in place from the beginning of this situation, as we know that is one of the better ways to control the spread of COVID-19.

As this situation develops many things are likely to change, but I can assure you that Vancity will always be here to serve you, and that we will always look out for the wellbeing of our employees.

I also want to let you know that we appreciate you doing your part by having patience with our employees, waiting on the phone and only coming into branches when you have to. We’re all in this together.

Finally, I want to thank you for all the comments and notes you’ve been sending about the dedication and service of our employees. As you’ve pointed out, Vancity employees are standing up for their community when it needs us the most. It goes without saying that I have never been more proud of our people. They’re doing an incredible job under very difficult circumstances to ensure we meet the needs of Vancity’s members.

-Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO