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Record profit posted

Surrey-based Coast Capital Savings credited its straightforward approach to banking for its continued growth as it announced a record profit of $58.6 million in 2007.

“It really gets down to our commitment to our mission – we have a clear mission, which is to provide simple financial help,” said Hermann Bessert, Coast Capital’s chief financial officer.

The credit union released its annual financial statements Feb. 28, reporting that profits rose 10.4 per cent from $53.1 million in 2006, while total assets under administration grew by 9.4 per cent to $11.9 billion over the same period.

It’s the latest year of growth for Coast Capital, which has seen its yearly profits improve from $35 million in 2003 to $58.6 million in 2007.

The number of customers continued to climb in 2007, with an additional 20,000 clients bringing Coast Capital’s total customer base to 380,000.

Other key financial highlights for 2007 compared to 2006 included: Total loans increased from $7.7 billion to $8.4 billion; total deposits grew by 7.8 per cent to $9 billion; and net interest income was $212.4 million, compared to $197.2 million.

Coast Capital believes in developing new financial products, Bessert said, pointing to its free chequing, no-worry mortgages and haggle-free approach to business as examples.

“The consumer base is excited about any innovative products that are coming in the financial service sector industry because, as we know, it’s a well over-supplied industry and you’ve got to find your own niche,” he said. “I believe we have found (our niche) by concentrating on the innovation side.”

The credit union is continuing to develop new products, however, Bessert said it’s too early to talk about the services expected to hit the marketplace in 2008.

He did say Coast Capital is upbeat about the coming year.

“We’re pretty excited about our performance in 2008, and obviously we’re keeping a close eye on what’s happening down in the States and whether there will be any spill over into the Canadian and B.C. marketplaces. But we’re not seeing any early indications that it will spill over into the B.C. market.”

Coast Capital Savings was created Dec. 31, 2000 with the merger of Pacific Coast Savings and Richmond Savings. Surrey Metro Savings merged with Coast Capital in June 2002, helping create what is now Canada’s second largest credit union after Vancity Savings Credit Union.

dweir@surreyleader.com

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