By Dale Miller
Like swashbuckling pirates of the high seas, the Students’ Union is giving no quarter when it comes to money
In a cunning financial move by the SU, the Royal Bank of Canada has been compelled to honour a loophole found in the SU’s $10 million redevelopment loan contract, saving the SU a minimum of $283,000 over the next five years.
The loophole allows the SU to pay a penalty of $150,000–the equivalent of three month’s interest–to put a five-year lock on a low interest rate, saving them a gross total of $433,000. The amount saved could become higher if interest rates go up during the five-year period.
"This is an awesome opportunity," said Greg Clayton, SU Vice-President Operations and Finance. "Over the last two years, there’s been a lot of talk about how the SU is wasting money–this is a good start to a new year."
While there are no specific plans for the loot as of yet, Clayton insists the money is pledged to benefit student services.
"The money isn’t earmarked for anything," said Clayton. "But it will allow us invest more in student services like Volunteer Services, the external budget and the events budgetÂ—any surplus we run after that will go towards paying down the $10 million debt."
This move by the SU is a first step in a series of negotiations with their suppliers using their substantial economic leverage to get the best prices possible. Clayton has high hopes that this type of cost cutting will continue throughout the year.
"The Royal Bank cut our banking fees in half," said Clayton of another recent contract renegotiation. "We saved $50,000 just by talking to them and saying ‘if you want our business, you’re going to have to be more competitive’–our goal is to do that with all of our suppliers."