British Columbians keep spending despite record debt

Plus, new funding for fin tech startup and pioneer store moves to Williams Lake

Merry debtmas
While the average Canadian household now carries $1.64 in debt for every dollar of disposable income, Vancouverites won’t rein in their holiday spending. On Monday, Statistics Canada released figures showing that household debt compared with disposable income is now 163.7 per cent, an increase of one percent over the second quarter of 2015.

But an online survey released on the same day by Vancity Credit Union shows that British Columbians aren’t adjusting their Christmas wish lists. On average, the shoppers planned to spend $803.96 on holiday gifts. While 40 per cent of the respondents admitted to overspending in 2014, they planned to shell out about the same amount on gifts this year. 

Tru cash
A Vancouver-based firm offering online identity verification technology has raised $15 million in an equity financing deal with American Express Ventures, which joined existing funders BDC Capital, Blumberg Capital and Tenfore Holdings. Trulioo has recently gained international profile with a product called GlobalGateway, which connects Trulioo clients to more than one hundred data sources in more than 40 countries to provide instant ID verification for over four billion consumers.

GlobalGateway provides advanced analytics based on multiple sources of information to score online identities as authentic, machine-generated or fraudulent. Examples of traditional sources used for identity verification include public records, files, and government data. Global Gateway also draws on alternative sources including social login providers, ad networks, and social networks.

“We are now looking to take our flagship product, GlobalGateway, to the banking industry,” said Trulioo founder and CEO Stephen Ufford. “This investment is a vote of confidence that we can help support the banking industry in meeting the increasingly complex requirements of cross-border compliance.”

Old store, new location
An early-20th-century store in 153 Mile House that sold stagecoach foot-warmers, hats, and First Nations leatherwork to settlers and gold-diggers will soon be open to the public in Williams Lake. The log building sits on a working ranch and has been left intact since the store closed in 1963. The long-time owners have donated the store to the City of Williams Lake, which hopes to move the building into town and operate it as a museum.

The two-storey, tin-roofed structure was originally built in 1914 by Italian settler Louis Crosina. One of his daughters, Lily, sold the ranch and the store to Joe and Peggy Patenaude in 1958. Lily ran the store until 1963, when she died behind the counter. The Patenaudes closed the store but kept it well preserved.

Now, Joe and Peggy’s son Roger Patenaude has donated this piece of B.C. history, and it is destined for a lot beside the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin. “This building, it’s in its original, in situ state with all the artifacts in place,” museum curator and executive director William Adams told the Province, “so it has an authenticity you won’t find anywhere else.”