Coast Capital Savings Credit Union

Coast Capital Savings Credit Union

March 20, 2006 18:55 ET

Coast Capital Savings Launches Chinese Market Initiative

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - March 20, 2006) -

Credit union says its value-driven free chequing account and easy-approval No Worry Mortgages will help create a competitive niche in a market fuelled by immigration.

Coast Capital Savings today launched the first phase of a Chinese market initiative to make its products and services more accessible to Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking customers and expand its share in the burgeoning Chinese market.

Chinese customers can now access Coast Capital Savings' automated telephone banking line in either Cantonese or Mandarin, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Coast Capital Savings has also introduced two new dedicated contact centre phone lines for each of the two Chinese dialects, with staff available to help customers Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Unveiling a new Chinese name for Coast Capital Savings at an event at its Richmond Centre branch, President and CEO Lloyd Craig said this is only the beginning of a long-term plan that will be rolled out over several years. Craig said the credit union's Chinese name helps demonstrate to the Chinese community that Coast Capital Savings is open for business when it comes to meeting their financial needs.

"Our focus since our mergers has been on streamlining our business for greater efficiency and introducing innovative and competitive products that set us apart, prior to embarking on any new market campaigns," Craig said. "This work has been completed and we're confident that our helpful approach to service, the savings value of our free chequing account and our easy-to-qualify No Worry Mortgages will set us apart from other financial institutions in this market."

The characters that make up Coast Capital Savings Chinese name represent health and wealth, two qualities that resonate with the Chinese community. The name highlights Coast Capital Savings' commitment to the financial health of its customers, to building healthy communities and to a healthy lifestyle as part of its corporate culture. It has 23 brush strokes, which in Chinese numerology signifies nurturing qualities.

Craig said as part of the new initiative, the credit union's free chequing product brochure is now available in Chinese. More Chinese brochures and a Chinese website will also be available by the end of the year.

Mike Bushore, Coast Capital Savings Senior Vice President, strategic planning, said the need to provide specialized services to Mandarin and Cantonese speaking customers continues to be fuelled by immigration trends. According to the 2001 census, people of Chinese descent make up 17 per cent of Greater Vancouver's total population. Statistics Canada further projects that by 2017, about a quarter of the Vancouver metropolitan population will be Chinese.

"The Chinese community is not only a significant contributor to B.C.'s socio-economic growth and diversity but has also become an increasingly powerful voice in the marketplace and our goal is to listen and respond to their needs," Bushore said. "Our approach goes beyond what most banks have done, which is simply to provide services in Mandarin and Cantonese. Ultimately, you need competitive products that save the consumer money and time, and that's where free chequing and No Worry Mortgages come in."

Craig said Coast Capital Savings has selected three branches to serve as the initial hub of its new market strategy and increased the number of Mandarin and Cantonese speaking staff at these locations, based on the high Chinese population. The branches designated to provide enhanced language services to the Chinese community are the Richmond Centre and Ironwood Mall branches in Richmond and the Westwood Mall branch in Coquitlam. Two new branches to be opened in Vancouver and Burnaby later this year will also provide enhanced language services.

Although not designated as enhanced Chinese language service branches, many of Coast Capital Savings' branches already have Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking staff who can provide assistance to customers in their preferred language. Over the long term, the credit union plans to continue recruiting more Mandarin-and Cantonese-speaking branch staff as it expands its Chinese market plan.

Coast Capital Savings is Canada's second largest credit union with $8.2 billion in assets, 340,000 members and 47 branches across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. The credit union was the first full-service financial institution to introduce free chequing in Canada. Coast Capital Savings is ranked among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by the Globe and Mail's Report on Business magazine in a survey conducted by Hewitt Associates. The credit union was also named by Imagine Canada for the second straight year as the best corporate citizen in Canada's financial services industry.

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