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Northern Savings interim president and CEO discusses recent layoffs

Northern Savings Credit Union has laid off 12 people at its head office in Prince Rupert.
Northern Savings Credit Union laid off 12 employees from its head office on Third Avenue West.

Northern Savings Credit Union has laid off 12 people at its head office in Prince Rupert, ranging from senior management to non-management personnel in every department, as part of a restructuring to ensure the institution is sustainable going forward.

Northern Savings interim president and CEO Barry Delany said the layoffs come following a review of business operations that included some downsizing in the company's portfolio.

"We owned a technology company whose employees were living in Vancouver island and elsewhere and a technology company is not something the credit union has the skills or experience to run. It's a very competitive industry, very challenging, and yet we had about 30 or more people in that business. It was a financial drag to the credit union and a distraction to the management team, so the decision was made to sell that ... We also made another decision in another are of our business to reduce our mortgage portfolio we own in Victoria," explained Delaney.

"As a result of reducing the size of our business, there is a commensurate need to reduce the staffing levels at the head office from a business point of view, we couldn't sustain that number of people without the corresponding revenue to support it ... It was really clear we had to do something for the long-term sustainability of the credit union."

Calling the layoffs "very significant", Delany noted the board and management struggled with the decision to layoff "good people who did nothing wrong". However, he said management is working with and offering support to the affected employees to minimize the financial hit. Delaney also said he doesn't foresee other staffing reductions following this round of layoffs.

"The staff have been asking if we are done and if there is more to come. I have been able to say that this is it. It's a substantial part of our head office and there is nothing more to come," he said, noting there now 32 employees that form the head office.

"We no longer have a technology company to distract us, we no longer have these mortgages outside of the north and what we have done is return to a traditional credit union that is all about community and great service. We now have a financial picture that is sustainable for decades to come, but we had to go through this difficult time. "

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