2020 Press Releases



East Kootenay – East Kootenay Community Credit Union (EKC) held its 70th Annual AGM on June 24, 2020.

Jean-Ann Debreceni, Board Chair, welcomed over fifty people. Instead of standing in front of a group of people, she sat by herself with her computer. The 70th AGM was held by Zoom.

All Board members signed in from their own space. Jose Galdamez welcomed back acclaimed Board members, Don Holt, Diane Byford, Russell Pask and Stephen Fairbairn.

Alisdair Smith, the meeting host, welcomed attendees as they signed in and helped everyone to become more comfortable with technology. Plus, members could let everyone know their names and where they were from.

EKC’ AGM went off without a technical glitch; however, the dress rehearsal was critical to iron out the details. The switch to technology presented new opportunities and challenges. A virtual AGM is accessible, especially in the circumstances like a pandemic, it comes with some downfalls.

Jody Burk, the CEO, explained, “I appreciate everyone signing in, but I really miss the time after the meeting to have casual conversations with our members. It doesn’t give the same feel.”

EKC has rotated the communities where the AGM was held in the past Elkford members may not have attended if the meeting was in Cranbrook. Technology supported members from all of our communities to attend easily.

EKC's AGM format was matched as much as possible to live meetings; however, EKC was unable to continue its Community Cash program. Community groups in the past had attended and were able to provide awareness of the great things the community groups offer, and attendees could vote with EKC cash. The program had given back over $30,000 since 2016. The cancellation did open the door to look at opportunities to give back to the communities EKC serves as it celebrates its 70th year.

The Board were thanked for their time and commitment. As an elected group of local individuals, the Board is made up of members who generously give their time and energy to steer the present and help unfold the future.

The meeting finished up with Kathleen Simon, a longtime Cranbrook member, tell us her story. We encourage you to watch and share her story.

Kathleen Simon Talks about East Kootenay Community Credit Union


Media Contact
Jane Davies

Pam Pinch
Executive Assistant
250.426.8223 ext. 3361

Background Information

About EKC
EKC was established in 1950 and has grown to over $405 million in assets and serves over 11,034 members throughout the East Kootenay. EKC is a community based financial cooperative that offers a full range of banking, financial planning (EKC MoneyWorks) and general insurance (KIS Ltd) services. Our community branches are located in Cranbrook, Elkford, Fernie, and Sparwood. Please visit us at one of our branches, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EKCCU, Instagram, LinkedIn or at EKCCU.COM.



East KootenayEast Kootenay Community Credit Union (EKC) is built on the knowledge of members helping members and understanding our communities. We recognize personalized advice and service will help our members take care of their money and meet all their banking need. The same benefits of local banking at EKC applies when you are shopping too.

Shop local, is now more important than ever.

Local businesses and credit unions, like EKC, can make decisions quickly and be more relevant to our communities. EKC was able to install protective shields for the front-line staff by our local cabinet maker, floor stickers from our local sticker shop and provide hand sanitizer from our local distillery within the first week of the pandemic.

Local business needs your support now, more than ever. Contact your favorite retailers and find out how they are doing business. We may not have the convenience of browsing through the aisles but they are still happy to assist us, Just not in the usual way. From doing your banking from home, curbside pickup for your dog food and delivery from your favorite restaurant, businesses have adapted and so should we.

You may find your neighbour is now delivering your order, the owner is offering a private showing of their furniture and your local retailer can get your order faster than Amazon.

Research BC Buy Local shows that BC local businesses create more than double the economic impact of their chain competitors. For every $100 spent with a BC local business, $63 is re-circulated back into our BC economy (vs $14 for multinational corporations).

  • Local retailers re-circulate 63%
  • Local restaurants re-circulate 68%
  • Local suppliers (e.g. office supplies) re-circulate 33%

In addition to EKC, shopkeepers and restaurant owners, tax goes to government that supports schools, firefighters, and other services in the area. Ordering take out dinner can be the reason our town has enough money to fix the potholes! Please order dessert too!!

Shopping locally gives back to all of us by:

  • bringing growth and innovation to our community,
  • donations back to your children’s sports teams,
  • sponsorship of events,
  • expertise and energy into our communities by planning events and helping with local initiatives,
  • creating jobs,
  • training ground for youth to explore career options,
  • attracting and creating talent for new products or new solutions for existing ideas, and
  • supporting big businesses for the completion of various business functions through outsourcing

The environmental footprint is smaller when we shop locally. It’s difficult to avoid foreign manufacturing, but many local businesses have locally made goods for sale, which eliminates at least one flight your product might take, saving on fuel and greenhouse gases. Even if the product you’re buying was manufactured overseas, buying it locally can shave a flight or two off the product’s carbon footprint.

Shopping locally is the best way to find unique items and support the growth of our local culture. The children’s book written by a local writer and with pictures from local artists may inspire the next generation to shop local and live local.

East Kootenay Community Credit Union is a proud cooperative built by the people of the East Kootenay. We have supported many small businesses in starting up in our communities and through good times and now, challenging times. Like a parent, we are invested in the growth and success of our business members and of course, want to see them come through this difficult time. With your support now and when we return to “the new normal”, these small businesses will continue to thrive and remain the backbone of our communities.

EKC encourages everyone to learn more about doing their banking and shopping from home.


Media Contact:

Jane Davies
ekccumarketing@telus.netEast Kootenay Community Credit Union
Phone: 250.421.8687

About EKC
EKC was established in 1950 and has grown to over $400 million in assets and serves over 11,000 members throughout the East Kootenay. EKC is a community based financial cooperative that offers a full range of banking, financial planning (EKC MoneyWorks) and general insurance (KIS Ltd) services. Our community branches are located in Cranbrook, Elkford, Fernie, and Sparwood. Please visit us at one of our branches, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EKCCU or at EKCCU.COM

EKC to Offer CANADA EMERGENCY BUSINESS ACCOUNT (CEBA) for Business Members by the end of April


East Kootenay — Today, Finance Canada confirmed that they will now work with all credit unions to bring the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program to Canadian small businesses before the end of April. The federal government is working with the credit unions to ensure all members have access and will not be disadvantaged due to a slower roll out.

CEBA provides a $40,000 loan for eligible small businesses and not-for-profit members. This federal program is designed to help cover operating costs for organizations experiencing temporary revenue reductions.

All businesses with payroll between $50,000 and $1 million in 2019 are eligible to apply for the $40,000 CEBA loan. There will be no interest charged and no payments required until December 31, 2022. The loan proceeds must be used to pay for operating expenses that cannot be deferred, such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, debt payments and property tax. 

Further eligibility and information requirements are available at EKCCU.COM

Please contact:

Michelle Strickland
Commercial Sales Representative
Dir 250.417.4721

COVID-19 Updates

A message from Jody Burk, CEO


On behalf of myself and the Board of Directors, we want to assure you that the health and safety of our members and employees is a top priority so that we can continue to serve you.

We are following the Coronavirus developments very closely. We continue to monitor the latest advice from our provincial and federal health agencies and relevant local information.

The risk of contracting the illness, today remains low. At this time, EKC has not been impacted by COVID-19 and we have not had any employees show symptoms of the virus. Therefore, you may notice changes to how we greet you or your appointment may not be in the usual office in support of these recommendations. These are just precautions to further protect you our member and our employees during this time.

We recognize that you may have some questions about how we're responding to this evolving situation. EKC has mobilized a team who have put plans in place and are responsive to the changes. Updates to staff and you, our members, will be posted when changes occur.

EKC branches are open and will remain open to serve you. We have made more staff available by phone and email to support you if you are not feeling well.

Here's what you can do to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19:

  • Sign up for online banking if you do not have this service
  • Download EKC's App for mobile banking
  • Make use of the following services:
    • MemberDirect, our online banking site
    • MemberLink telephone banking
    • After-hours technical services assistance (1.877.251.5230 in North America or email Technical Support)
  • If you do visit a branch, please use hand sanitizing stations and maintain good hygiene practices.
EKC has implemented some precautionary health and safety actions. These include:
  • Keeping our employees well informed and educated on hygiene practices.
  • Encouraging our employees to offer more phone and video interactions for your loan, mortgage and investment inquiries.
  • ‘Social distancing’ a new term to us but for all of our safety we have encouraged our staff to step back and not share hands.
  • Carrying out the highest available service standard of sanitization in our branches and offices.
  • Increasing the daily frequency of our ATM and branch cleaning, including the disinfection of high-touch surfaces such as countertops, door handles, handrails and keypads.
  • Increasing the supply of hygiene products in our branches and offices.
  • Requiring employees to stay home if they are sick or have any symptoms.
  • Ensure employees who have travelled self-isolate as required.

Thanks for your patience as we make changes to provide you with the best possible service during this evolving situation.

If you have any questions, we're here for you and you can reach us by calling your branch https://www.ekccu.com/Personal/AboutUs/ContactUs/. If you have concerns please contact me directly email.

Jody Burk, CEO

Useful Resources:
We encourage our members to stay informed about the facts surrounding COVID-19 and recommend the following links to qualified authorities:

Community Cash Awards Return

EKC’s Community Cash Awards Return to Cranbrook and the Elk Valley with Plans to add an Additional $10,000 to the $30,687 contributed since 2016!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 5, 2020

East Kootenay — East Kootenay Community Credit Union (EKC) announces the return of their successful Community Cash Awards to both Cranbrook and the Elk Valley. EKC’s passion for community is demonstrated by their past community investment of $30,687 to 25 community groups and their goal to give back a further $10,000 this year.

The program supports development of healthy and diverse communities. The Community Cash Awards will offer community groups an opportunity to apply for funding while involving EKC members and the community in choosing the award winners.

Community groups are invited to apply for Community Cash Awards by submitting an application form (available at EKCCU.COM) by March 22. EKC will select groups to move forward to the next round. The groups selected will promote themselves and their projects in their local branch of EKC from April 27 to May 2, 2020.

Finalists will be invited to set up information tables to promote their organization at EKC’s Annual General Meeting taking place in Cranbrook on Thursday, May 14 at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort.

Members and guests (including community group supporters of all ages) at the AGM will each receive EKC Community Cash when they arrive. They are asked to invest their EKC Community Cash with one or more of the community groups. Each of the selected groups will receive $500 for attending the AGM as well as the real cash equivalent to the EKC Community Cash that they accumulate. Kootenay Insurance Services (KIS) will also offer a bonus to each finalist. The group with the most Community Cash at the end of the evening will receive an additional $1,000.

The event provides a fun and unique way to involve both EKC members and the community in selecting the Community Cash Award recipients. For those whose children may not want to attend the full AGM, a family friendly movie will be shown!

For more information about the Community Cash Awards stop by your local branch or download an application form at https://www.ekccu.com/Personal/InOurCommunity/CommunityGiving/Programs/CommunityCashAward/

2019 Community Cash top recipient:

$2,363 was awarded to the Frank J. Mitchell Elementary School PAC, Community Cash Award Winner

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Program Contact
Pam Pinch
East Kootenay Community Credit Union
Phone: 250.426.8223 local 3361
Email: ppinch@ekccu.com

Media Contact:
Jane Davies
East Kootenay Community Credit Union
Phone: 250.421.8687

About EKC
EKC was established in 1950 and has grown to over $400 million in assets and serves over 11,000 members throughout the East Kootenay. EKC is a community based financial cooperative that offers a full range of banking, financial planning (EKC MoneyWorks) and general insurance (KIS Ltd) services. Our community branches are located in Cranbrook, Elkford, Fernie, and Sparwood. Please visit us at one of our branches, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EKCCU or at EKCCU.COM


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