The planned closure of the Cobequid branch of the Community Credit Union has caused quite an uproar in Bass River.
So much so that a committee of disgruntled members has lodged an official complaint with the Nova Scotia Ombudsman’s office.
It’s a last-ditch effort to save the community's only financial institution and it may not produce the desired result.
But based on the wildly conflicting information coming from the opposing camps an independent investigation would be most welcome.
For instance, Darrell Kuhn, CEO of the Community Credit Union of Cumberland Colchester, to which the Cobequid branch belongs, says, in a statement, that "the Bass River branch is closing because there is and has not been sufficient business to support the branch" and "many of the Bass River members continue to deal with other banks."
He added that “a very difficult decision" was made to close the branch because its losses could no longer be supported by the remainder of the credit union membership.
A notice sent to members in March also indicated the branch closure was necessary because it had been losing in excess of $100,000 per year and that accumulated losses over the past 10 years were "well over" $1 million.
OK, that makes sense until Valerie Meredith, chairperson of the disgruntled members committee, quotes information from the credit union's 2007 general meeting that "2006 was our best year ever and we are pleased to report that we will be paying another Patronage dividend of $250,000 for a total paid since amalgamation of $1,450,000."
Information from subsequent years offered similar statements," she said.
So what are we to make of this? Is the Credit Union in Bass River holding its own and perhaps even thriving? Or is it a sinking ship that needs to be cut adrift in order for the rest of the fleet to continue sailing?
Whatever the case, a significant portion of its members are angry and have gone to an outside agency in search of answers.
No harm in that, is there?