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Village Council: Local Grand Mananers Propose A Credit Union After Bank Closure
Grand Manan residents Mike Munro and Lauren Martin are working to open a credit union on the island. Scotiabank closed the doors to Grand Manan's only bank last August, leaving islanders with an approximately 8-hour round-trip to the mainland to get to the closest bank. Munro and Martin are proposing a joint credit union and health centre to take over the former Scotiabank location. A credit union, essentially, is a financial co-operative owned and operated by its members.They presented the proposal to Grand Manan Village Council during the regular January meeting.
“It’s unlikely a big-six bank would come back, but a credit union could work for us,” said Munro during the presentation to council.
Munro and Martin, who currently own and operate the island's only pharmacy, are aiming for the proposed credit union to have an ATM, personal and retail banking, and eventually even be able to provide small loans.
A recently established Facebook group called "Help Form a Grand Manan Credit Union" already has 700 members, a healthy early showing of support considering the island has just 2,400 residents. With enough support on their side, the next step for Munro and Martin will be to fulfill the requirements of the Credit Union Act to obtain government approval. At the present moment, 10 island residents have pledged to be a part of the credit union.
“This is the beginning of the process, not the end of the process. We’re still many months out from that being able to happen, but we’re working through the process pretty diligently,” said Munro.
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