By Maria Spitale-Leisk
Downtown bank manager Chris Calverley has seen Mission’s subtle metamorphosis from his perch at the Scotiabank at the corner of First Avenue and Welton Street.
He arrived at this branch on Oct. 30,1988 — a newcomer to the area. Calverley says he felt welcomed from day one. Which is why, perhaps, he paid it forward by volunteering with the Mission Community Foundation and the local Rotary Club.
“Remarkably, it’s still very similar,” says Calverley, of the lay of the land in Mission.
However, the major industry in town has changed, he notes. In the 1980s the fibreglass plant was a large employer in Mission; nowadays, InterWrap — a manufacturer of lumber wrap material — has taken that honour.
As a loan intermediary, Calverley was a party to many Mission residents’ milestones — weddings, home expansion, first business. He’s seen small enterprises upgrade to larger businesses. The bank itself has undergone three expansions since Calverley showed up.
It’s the personal connections with the community that he most values. Just last week, Calverley gave some local preschoolers a tour of the bank’s vault.
Online banking may be ubiquitous, but it will never replace some people’s desire for a human connection, he says.
“We do identify the fact that every person is not cut out for electronic banking,” adds Calverley. “It’s a social outing for a lot of people.”
Now, after logging 39 years of service with Scotiabank, Calverley is hanging up his calculator, and reflecting on his early years in the banking industry.
He started as a trainee at the Bank of Nova Scotia in Prince George in 1973. Over the next seven years, he moved five times chasing after promotions — from Williams Lake to Mackenzie to Vancouver, eventually settling in Mission 24 years ago.
“People ask me if I am going to stay here and I say ‘yes, absolutely.'”
But he is going to retire from the workforce entirely, and take some time to gather his thoughts. His Paul Harris Fellow humanitarian award — Rotary’s highest honour — reaffirms that Calverley’s community service days are not over.
Also displayed on his office wall is a caricature of Calverley on his Harley-Davidson Road Glide tearing through the greens at Mission Golf and Country Club, done by late Mission artist Lo Linkert.
Calverley plans to enrol in Spanish immersion school in Mexico, so he can converse with his grandson who lives in Cabo San Lucas with Calverley’s daughter and son-in-law.
His last day at Scotiabank is Dec. 31. A going away party for Calverley has been planned for January.