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UNI ‘wasn’t ready’ for rollout of new banking platform, says company CEO

UNI CEO Camille Thériault said the botched rollout of the credit union’s banking platform in July happened because it “wasn’t ready” for the change.

Since the rollout in early July, the credit union’s members have been dealing with all sorts of technical issues, like paycheques being deposited late, loan payments coming out on loans that had been completely paid off, or difficulties sending bank transfers.

“UNI chose to do this because Desjardins could not, or did not want to continue with this relationship,” Thériault said at a press conference Tuesday. “They started it all and there was a deadline of that date.”

Thériault said numbers show UNI has lost 2,600 out of 170,000 members since the start of July.

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Mathieu Lewis is one of them.

After being unable to send an e-transfer to a friend using a different bank in early August, he called UNI and was put on hold for an hour and half.

“The employee said in a blunt manner, ‘Yes I know there is a problem. Call back tomorrow…maybe after tomorrow.’,” Lewis told Global News in French.

He said after calling a second time, the employee couldn’t find his account.

He has since switched financial institutions.

Thériault said the transition has taken a toll on employees, and UNI has had to temporarily close several locations due to a lack of staff, in part because some of them are on stress leave.

He said the company is working with Pinnacle InfoSys, the company that created their new banking platform, on creating an improved version that is more user friendly.

“I have talked with a lot of the employees who are involved in this project. Everyone agrees that basically, the engine of this banking system is very strong. Now we have to dress it up to make sure that the whole car will be moving very smoothly in the same direction,”

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Thériault said he could not provide an exact date for when the improved banking platform would be rolled out, saying it would be available for public consumption when it was “really ready”.

He said the company was actively recruiting more staff to be able to assist with the high volume of calls and visits to the branches.

He said there was a decline in the number of calls and visits since early July.

Bernie Buotte, an UNI member visiting Moncton’s Morton avenue branch on Wednesday, said his paycheques were deposited late in July.

“I remember this place was jam packed and I see the people the line was long outside and the wait time was two to three hours,” he said in an interview.

He said he had considered switching to another bank, but decided against it, as he’s been a client for over 40 years.

“I was with them for a long long time. I don’t wanna change at all. Right now its so far so good,” he said.