Credit union cuts worries chamber of commerce in Saskatchewan community

SHELL LAKE, Sask. – The president of the Shell Lake Chamber of Commerce is concerned what will happen to the small Saskatchewan community when the local credit union reduces its hours by almost 40 per cent next year.

Shell Lake is one of six Innovation Credit Unions that will have reduced hours.

Rose Freeman says if the credit union isn’t open, it becomes difficult for business owners with their nightly deposits.

Also, she expects it will hinder visitors from the surrounding lake communities, because with no financial institution or ATM available it’s easier to shop elsewhere.

Freeman believes it could be the beginning of the end for these communities, yet she notes that Innovation Credit Union reported a net income of $15 million last year.

Innovation CEO Dan Johnson says their level of profit may seem high, but they are heavily regulated and held to the same standards as all financial institutions, so it isn’t high when you add in all the other mitigating factors.

Johnson says closures and reducing hours aren’t decisions that Innovation Credit Union takes lightly.