A Chemainus business recently beat out nominees from all across the Island to be named Insurance/Financial Services Company of the Year at the Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards. Island Savings Credit Union in Chemainus won the award Jan. 23.
“It was a really wonderful surprise,” said branch manager Kareen Post, who added that employees were thrilled to be recognized for the work they do.
Though they’re not sure who nominated the business, Post and insurance manager Cynthia Gabrielson believe the branch was selected because of employees’ investment in their customers and their community.
“We genuinely care about our members’ financial success,” said Gabrielson, “and we live in the community as well.”
The key, they say, is that the employees want to see their community thrive, both financially and socially. That attitude has inspired Island Savings to go beyond providing financial services to actually getting involved with a number of charitable and community-building causes. Among other activities, employees support local food banks, youth mentorship and family programs, and recently, they spent the day helping customers of a local shopping centre get their groceries out to their cars, just to be nice.
“We have a really engaged group of people,” said Gabrielson.
Employees are encouraged to treat not just their customers — or members, as they’re know at Island Savings — with respect and courtesy, but to also treat one another well and build a positive work environment.
“That is the culture when you come in. You feel that,” said Post. The efforts have paid off; Island Savings has been named one of Canada’s Top 50 Employers for two years running.
“We work together as a team, and our team is knowledgeable and passionate,” said Gabrielson. “We want to be the Island’s most recommended banking and insurance provider.”
Island Savings customers appear to be on board with that plan, with a recent poll indicating that 96 per cent would recommend Chemainus Island Savings to friends. Last year, the branch saw more than five per cent growth, and next month, it will move to Chemainus Village Square, to a space more than double the size of the current one on Legion Street. This year is shaping up to be a good one for the business, which also won the Chemainus and District Chamber of Commerce Golden Brush Award for Professional Service Business of the Year.
The Chemainus branch opened as an insurance provider in 1988 and in 2004 moved to its current location, adding retail banking at the time. Today, Island Savings provides complete commercial and personal banking, borrowing, investing and insurance services.