Bowser is a small waterfront community in Lighthouse Country – a stretch of coast between Qualicum Bay and Deep Bay. For many years, residents of this quiet town travelled to nearby communities to access banking services.
In the Fall of 2000, the owner of Tomm’s Food Market (also a Director of Union Bay Credit Union) approached the Board with an idea. His customers were asking for an ATM (as they had no way to access cash). The small business owner believed that residents would welcome a financial institution in their community. He proposed that Union Bay Credit Union open a branch in Bowser.
To determine if there was enough community support, the Board put out a challenge. If 300 people would commit to using a local credit union as their primary financial institution – accounts, term deposits, mortgages, RRSP’s etc. – then Union Bay Credit Union would open a Bowser branch. With this challenge in mind, two Union Bay Credit Union employees set up a temporary office in a tiny closet at the back of Tomm’s Food Market, surrounded by binders brimming with member application forms.
The employees wore bright blue sweatshirts with “DO YOU WANT IT?” printed on the front. It was the perfect opening to talk to shoppers about the benefits of having a credit union right next door. Word spread quickly, and soon residents lined up outside the little room to become members. Three weeks later, 300 members signed up for what was to become Lighthouse Community Branch. The new location opened in February 2001 and is still growing today!