“It is a great day,” began East Kootenay Community Credit Union (EKCCU) CEO Jody Burk at the official grand opening of the Sparwood Branch where over 250 people were in attendance. Sparwood residents, business owners, council members and the Mayor enjoyed food, punch, live music and great company as the community of Sparwood met and mingled with EKCCU staff and board members at the much anticpated celebration.
A speech presented by Burk outlined the history and background of how EKCCU began. “In 1950 ten people got together around a table, they discussed how no bank would help them. They all chipped in and gathered together $100 and began to lend that out, and that’s how it all began.” Since the early days EKCCU has evolved. Self described as a financial service cooperative, instead of just a bank EKCCU is well known for being hugely involved and supportive of the communities they are based in. “We opened the Elkford branch in 1994 when RBC was pulling out. Since then it has been a great success,” says Burk. “In 2004 the Fernie branch opened and now the numbers have gotten to a point where we knew we needed a branch in Sparwood,” he says.
Burk recognized and thanked members of the branch and the community of Sparwood for their tremendous support and enthusiasm. Sparwood residents, Glen and Jeanette Leyden were honoured as they were the first people to sign a mortgage with the EKCCU in Elkford. “This is really a dream come true for us, having a branch in Sparwood,” says Leyden.
As EKCCU thanked the community, Sparwood Mayor Lois Halko took the stage and thanked EKCCU for all they have done for the community. “We thank you for this beautiful building, and for all of your community spirit and enthusiasm. The money you have donated and the community awards you give are wonderful. Eric, you have been very involved and visible in the community and in activities and that is something that is very appreciated. To EKKCU, you are a very welcome addition to the community,” she concluded.
As the speeches drew to a close, those in attendance were reminded of EKCCU’s slogan ‘Together through life,” and that EKCCU is working for them and looking forward to being with families through all of life’s stages. “We just ask that you tell your friends and neighbours about us,” says Burk.
People spent the remainder of the evening mingling, snacking, winning prizes and celebrating the exciting grand opening of EKCCU’s Sparwood Branch.