Vancity shifts Citizens Bank focus to Visa card services and foreign exchange



    VANCOUVER, Aug. 5 /CNW/ - In a strategic shift to continue to grow its
business and better serve the needs of members, Vancity announced today that
Citizens Bank, its online banking subsidiary, will focus its operations on
Visa (*)card services, and foreign exchange services for non-retail members.
    Citizens Bank will leave the personal banking marketplace and therefore
Vancity has entered into an agreement to sell the majority of the bank's
retail loans to The Toronto-Dominion Bank ("TD Canada Trust"). The value of
the transaction will not be disclosed, but Vancity President and CEO, Tamara
Vrooman, says it is a good business decision because it returns capital that
can be reinvested to enhance member services at the credit union. It also
focuses Citizens Bank on what it does best.
    "We pioneered online banking in Canada, but it's become a crowded
marketplace," says Vrooman. "Our members have told us repeatedly that they
want us to focus on our core strengths. We're local, we're community-focused,
and our offering is based on building relationships and providing service. In
a national, online market, we were unable to achieve the scale necessary to
succeed. Therefore, the bank's business model wasn't making full use of our
strengths."
    "This decision simplifies and strengthens our core business and continues
Vancity's transformation to a more streamlined and focused organization - a
true B.C. success story," Vrooman says.
    "Maintaining great service for members who currently have mortgages or
loans remains a top priority, and I know that TD Canada Trust shares our
commitment to making the account transition a comfortable experience," Vrooman
adds.
    The sale, which closed today, includes Citizens Bank residential
mortgages, personal loans and real estate secured lines of credit.

    
    This means:

    -   Citizens Bank will become a non-deposit-taking bank focused on Visa
        credit card services and foreign exchange services for non-retail
        members.
    -   Citizens Banks' three boutique branches in Vancouver, Calgary and
        Toronto will close in December of 2009.
    -   Most members who currently have mortgages or loans with Citizens Bank
        will see their accounts transferred to TD Canada Trust. For the time
        being, until conversion in early 2010, Citizens Bank will continue to
        service these accounts. Customers can continue to call 1-888-708-7800
        or visit www.citizenbank.ca for service on these accounts.
    -   Savings and chequing account members will be free to transfer their
        accounts to Vancity in B.C., or to another financial institution of
        their choice.
    -   Term deposits not in RRSPs or other registered accounts will be
        serviced until they mature and then paid out.
    -   Registered savings plans will need to be transferred to another
        financial institution of the member's choice.
    -   Members with group insurance on credit products will continue to have
        coverage for the period Citizens Bank is servicing the business until
        conversion in early 2010.
    -   In commercial lending, CB employees will continue to service existing
        loans outside of B.C. and new loans will be underwritten by Vancity
        within B.C.
    

    None of Citizens Bank's 30,000 members need to take any immediate action.
Citizens Bank will work closely with each membr to minimize any inconvenience
and provide the support they need to transfer their business over the coming
months.

    (*) Visa Int./Citizens Bank of Canada, Licensed User.

    About Vancouver City Savings Credit Union

    Vancity is Canada's largest credit union, with $14.5 billion in assets,
more than 400,000 members, and 60 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the
Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. Vancity is guided by a commitment to
improving the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.





For further information:

For further information: Karen Berkhout, (778) 837-0394

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