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Canadian credit unions celebrate positive impact on community and economy on International Credit Union Day

October 19, 2017

TORONTO, ON (October 19, 2017): To celebrate International Credit Union Day, the Canadian Credit Union Association has released its 2017 Credit Union Community & Economic Report, which celebrates Canada’s credit unions and caisses populaires as fundamentally different than other financial institutions. For example, as financial co-operatives, those who bank with credit unions also are owners, which means they have a say about the way their credit union is run. This approach is one of the many reasons why credit union profits are going back into the hands of more than 5.6 million Canadians, and re-invested in community causes at rates more than five times that of the big five banks.

To read the 2017 Credit Union Community & Economic Report, click here.

“Ownership matters,” explains Martha Durdin, president and CEO of Canadian Credit Union Association, the national industry association for the Canadian credit union system. “Credit unions don’t make decisions in the interests of faraway shareholders; they strive to make them in the best interest of the customers right in front of them. This is a driver of the credit union model; it keeps the industry focused; and we’ve found that sharing our owners’ perspectives on what success looks like is beneficial to individuals and communities alike.”

The Report highlights other key differentiators between Canada’s credit unions and top financial institutions, showing just how credit unions are better, including:

  • Helping to keep money in Canadians’ pockets: Credit union members accessed 4,100 ding-free ATMs in 2016, saving $14 million in ATM fees.
  • Profits are returned to members: In addition to community donations, sponsorships and scholarships, credit unions returned $162 million of profits in patronage to credit union members across the country.
  • Creation of Canadian jobs: Dollar for dollar, credit unions create roughly twice as many jobs as Canada’s largest banks.
  • Local employment: Credit unions and their head offices are based locally, so good, family-supporting jobs are distributed in all regions in Canada.
  • Secure and prudent lending: Through good times and bad, Canada’s credit unions have outperformed their competitors in making high quality loans with lower average loan losses as a share of total loans (0.48 per cent, average credit union loss versus 1.09 per cent average bank loss).
  • Supporting rural communities and farmers:Credit unions support farmers by issuing 3.2 times more agricultural loans, relative to assets, than chartered banks in Canada.
  • Credit unions are the only bricks and mortar financial institution providing banking services in 369 small towns and communities across the country.
Canada’s credit unions are significant contributors to communities across Canada. In 2016 alone, credit unions gave a total of $55.9 million:
  • $25.9 million in donations;
  • $17.4 million in sponsorships;
  • $7.5 million in financial services (in reduced or waived service charges) to 54,730 community organizations;
  • $1.8 million in donations in-kind;
  • $2 million through 1,902 credit union scholarships and bursaries;
  • $993 thousand to credit union charitable foundations; and
  • $348 thousand to endowment funds.
The Report is being released on International Credit Union Day, which acknowledges the authentic difference credit unions make to Canadians, their commitment to local communities, and their contributions on a national and international level. International Credit Union Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948. The theme of this year’s ICU Day here in Canada, is #better. Credit unions are eager to show Canadians that we provide a better alternative for financial services.

To access the 2017 Community and Economic Impact Report, click here or visit www.ccua.com/publications

About Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA)
Canadian Credit Union Association is the national trade association for Canada’s credit unions and caisses populaires outside Quebec. These financial institutions offer a full-range of retail banking services to over 5.6 million Canadians. Collectively Canada’s 278 credit unions generate over $6.5 billion in economic impact, are leaders in small business lending, and have assets of over $205.3 billion. For more information, visit www.ccua.com.

About the Community Involvement Survey (data used for Report)
In 2001, Credit Union Central of Canada and Ipsos Reid conducted the first system-wide Community Involvement Study of Canadian credit unions. The survey is now conducted by Credit Union Central of Manitoba and continues to be voluntary. It is conducted each year, from April through August, and reports on credit union involvement in the previous fiscal year. The community involvement study conducted in 2017 with data from the 2016 fiscal year received 220 responses out of 280 surveys sent out which is a 79 per cent response rate and also a 94 per cent asset coverage rate. 2016 received 243 responses out of 287 surveys sent out to credit unions, which is an 85 per cent response rate and also a 96 per cent asset coverage rate. The results of this survey have always been shared with members as well as made public to highlight the role that credit unions play in developing the communities that they serve.

About International Credit Union Day
International Credit Union Day, coordinated by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948. It was established to acknowledge the credit union model, history and commitment to communities locally, nationally and internationally. To learn more, click here.