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Feb 10: Vancity Opening Green Branch

Vancity Opening 'Green' North Shore Branch This Spring

North Vancouver, February 10, 2003 -- Vancity Credit Union is opening a new branch at 1370 Main Street in Harbour Front Centre in mid-May that will set a precedent in energy efficiency and environmental consciousness and offer an interior design that will capture the culture and spirit of the North Shore.

Using input from focus groups conducted on the North Shore, the new Lynn Creek Branch, Vancity's 40th location, will provide a one-of-a-kind banking experience from the moment members step in the front door.

Members will find themselves captivated by a wilderness theme with trees and light representing water, 26-foot high ceilings and an original 23-foot totem pole. Vancity has commissioned David Neel, a well-known North Shore native artist, to create the pole, which will be unveiled at a grand opening ceremony in June.

"The totem pole is an inspired idea, and the size and scope of the undertaking is truly unique," says Bruce Ralston, Chair of Vancity's Board of Directors. "The design will be carved based on the legend of the Thunderbird and the Grizzly, which resonates with Vancity's core values and our purpose, which is to help our communities thrive and prosper."

To respect the diverse eco-systems of the North Shore and in keeping with Vancity's long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability, the branch is being built to meet LEED certification standards. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. There are only a few LEED-certified buildings in the region, and this will be the first for the retail sector.

Some of the exceptional environmental aspects of the new building will include water use reduction that will decrease water consumption in the building by 30 per cent and optimization of energy performance that will improve energy efficiency by 40 per cent over the industry norm. Vancity has also made a commitment to recycle close to 100 per cent of its construction waste. The inside of the building will also be extremely 'green' with everything from rigorously monitored indoor air quality to the use of low emitting materials, including paints, carpets and composite wood. Natural light will also filter through 75 per cent of the occupied spaces.

"Our goal is to capture the North Shore in every conceivable way - from the local wilderness to the unique art and culture in a building that provides a revolutionary environmental design. We want people to walk into this new branch and feel like they are in a special place - like they are home," says Arlene Urlacher, Lynn Creek Branch Manager.

To establish a presence in the community during construction of the building, Urlacher and three staff members (all from the North Shore) will be working out of a sales trailer at the Harbour Front Centre building site from mid-to-late February until late April.

As a special incentive to encourage people to join the new branch before the building opens, from the time the trailer opens until April 30th, people will be able to take advantage of promotional pricing and an early bird draw. In addition, for each new member who joins before April 30th, Vancity will make a $10 donation to North Shore Community Resources for a program that sends local underprivileged children to camp.

Vancity is Canada’s largest credit union, with $9.3 billion in assets, 305,000 members, and 41 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria. Vancity was chosen as the best place to work in Canada for 2005 by Maclean’s Magazine as part of its annual Canada’s Top 100 Employers issue. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet. Both Vancity and Citizens Bank are guided by a commitment to corporate social responsibility, and to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.