Banking. It’s part of modern life, but whoever you choose to do business with can have a bigger impact on your future than you might imagine.
First, while credit unions provide traditional banking services, they are more than traditional banks; They are local, community-based, member-owned, full-service financial cooperatives that put the dreams and needs of their members first.
Yes, they offer online banking with checking and savings accounts and access to toll-free ATMs over an extensive network, in addition to business loans and investment advice. But did you know that they also offer mortgages?
Credit unions in Canada are regulated at the provincial or federal level, all members have a say in the operation of their particular credit union, and they can vote for whoever they want on its board of directors. This is where it starts.
There may be more credit unions in Canada than you think. Figures reported in the Canadian Association of Credit Unions’ Community and Economic Impact Report 2020-2021 show that from coast to coast, there are over 200 credit unions in Canada, serving more than 5.9 million Canadians and led by 2,521 volunteer directors.
For the benefit of the members and the communities they serve, most credit unions reinvest their profits in these areas. Throughout the pandemic, credit unions have worked hard to support their communities, providing eligible members with CEBA loans and other government financial assistance programs.
For small business owners, credit unions have administered over $ 2 billion in loans. In addition, they have also provided over 80,000 mortgage deferrals which in turn have protected the housing market and provided support to groups that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
In Saskatchewan, Conexus Credit Union launched the $ 200,000 Conexus Kindness Capital Fund (CKC Fund), inviting people from across the province to name people and businesses in their communities who have responded to the pandemic in extraordinary ways. Fund recipients each received $ 5,000 in five areas of need: mental health, housing, food security, elderly care, health care and supplies.
Stacey Liang, a Regina-based dream counselor at the Albert Community School, was among the recipients. Her job is to foster relationships between families and sport, culture and recreation organizations by supporting those who face financial barriers to participation. She recently worked with different organizations to create an activity kit for families with children attending Albert or Kitchener School. Many live in poverty and the kits include everything from hygiene items to healthy snacks or meals and mental health activities. To date, Liang has supported his community by delivering more than 516 of these kits.
Regina-based designer Dean Renwick is another recipient who has made outstanding contributions to his community, including the elderly and those living with compromised immunity. He went from tailoring clothes to masks and personal protective equipment he could donate and, with his family, reconfigured his studio into a production space. As the project evolved, the family delivered more than 7,000 masks, 100 surgical gowns and 60 aprons.
In addition to supporting members and investing in their communities, Canada’s credit unions continue to excel in customer experience. This year, credit unions received the Ipsos Global Customer Service Excellence Award for 2021.
But this is not the first time that Canada’s credit unions have won – this is the 17th year in a row, repeatedly demonstrating the high level of service offered to members. “This recognition truly reflects the member-oriented service that credit unions provide,” said Canadian Association of Credit Unions President and CEO Martha Durdin.
“Credit unions have particularly demonstrated this through their response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even in times of uncertainty and stress, putting their members and communities first has always been a constant priority. “
To learn more about how to become a member of a credit union in Canada and the impact a change of banking location can have, visit canadascreditunions.ca.