Back to blog

From Keremeos Review: OCU Expands to Keremeos, Embracing Community and Innovation

From Keremeos Review: OCU Expands to Keremeos, Embracing Community and Innovation

Osoyoos Credit Union Expands to Keremeos: Embracing Community and Innovation

The following article was published in Keremeos Review:

After serving its community and proudly supporting local events for more than 75 years, the Osoyoos Credit Union (OCU) is excited to be in Keremeos. Modeled after its successful Rock Creek branch, OCU has expanded and is now open two days a week in Keremeos. Its Similkameen-based branch contains both an ATM and an advisor who will be on-site to provide banking services and financial advice. OCU — a member-owned and governed organization — is renting two offices from the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society (LSCSS).

Located inside the Ambrosia Building at 715 7th Street, the Keremeos branch offers a wide range of services without the need for cash or cheques. They can assist individuals and businesses with loans, mortgages, and investments, and can provide support to help members with online services such as moving money, making payments, and managing finances. For cash transactions, their 24/7 ATM is located down the road on Veterans Avenue.

After first opening in the fall of 2022, the Keremeos branch offers its services on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. People can be helped anytime, however, by calling the main branch at 250-495-6522. The credit union is currently looking to add more staff at its Keremeos and Oliver branches and would love to hire locally.

“At OCU, we believe that financial well-being is a shared responsibility,” said Greg Sol, CEO of OCU. “Our partnership with the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society exemplifies this commitment. By operating out of the Ambrosia Building two days a week, we offer personalized financial advice and support to Keremeos residents. Financial literacy matters, and we’re here to empower our community.”

While providing LSCSS with stable rent, other community groups have been using the space when OCU is not there. With community on top of mind, the credit union has provided funding to Osoyoos-based non-profits for decades while hoping to contribute to economic revitalization and improve quality of life. In Keremeos, OCU has continued its tradition of giving back.

It’s been just two years since OCU opened in the Similkameen, but groups and events like the SESS PAC, the LSCSS food drive, Sizzle Fest and the Keremeos Rodeo have already been on the receiving end of support from the credit union. OCU also recently donated $2,000 to the Starfish Pack program. Community groups are encouraged to apply for various grants offered by the credit union.

The credit union also offers financial literacy workshops to local community groups. They have partnered with the local RCMP in Keremeos to hold workshops on fraud prevention and staying safe online. Any groups who would like to learn more about various financial literacy topics are encouraged to reach out.

“Collectively, we’re stronger together,” Sol said. “The more we can do for our members, the more we can do for the community. Because our members are our community.”

With OCU now in Keremeos, the credit union has four locations, with branches in Osoyoos, Oliver, and Rock Creek serving as the other three. “Our commitment to the local community goes beyond traditional banking services. We’re proud to collaborate with the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society, providing financial support for two offices within the Ambrosia Building. Along with giving back to local groups that exist within their communities, OCU says it is also proud to continue to help local youth further their education by providing bursaries and scholarships. It completes a full circle of what OCU believes, with its ‘by locals, for locals’ spirit that is now in Keremeos.

“Together, we’re enhancing financial literacy and making a positive impact in today’s world,” Sol said.