Canada’s credit unions: Putting Canadians’ financial well-being first

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November 19, 2020

From: Canadian Credit Union Association

November marks the 10th anniversary of the Financial Literacy Month (FLM), and the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA) would like to take this opportunity to recognize the ongoing contribution that Canada’s credit unions are making to providing financial education in communities across the country. Some of our members hosted virtual workshops and events to mark this year’s FLM, which has taken on added significance given the pandemic and the financial hardships many Canadians are facing. 

These efforts build on the strong commitment credit unions have made to empower individuals to make the right financial decisions for themselves and their families. In particular, the sector launched and scaled an award-winning, national financial literacy program titled Each One, Teach One. Started in 2008, the program trains credit union employees to deliver free financial skills workshops in their communities.

Sunshine Coast Credit Union recently adapted the program’s content and delivery for high school audiences by showcasing modern scams and stories related to social media and the pandemic. 

Stingers Credit Union is the successful result of a partnership between Assiniboine Credit Union and Tec Voc High School. This teacher-led, student-run credit union recently celebrated five years. Since opening in 2014, over 160 students have gained experience in running the operations of the credit union, and these students have recruited over 550 students to join as members. 

In Saskatchewan, five credit unions (Affinity, Innovation, Conexus, Synergy, and Cornerstone) are founding and leadership partners of the Saskatchewan Financial Literacy Network.

From coast to coast, credit unions are working hard to helping Canadians achieve financial well-being. They are committed to bringing to life the fifth internationally recognized cooperative principle of Education, Training and Information, which is part of the cooperative identity, values and principles.

As cooperatives, credit unions play an important role in our society. They contribute to their communities’ economic, social, and environmental well-being. 

Each year, they give back on average 5% of pre-tax profits to local community organizations – well above the recognized industry standard of 1%. They also support small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and are responsible for 21.2% of lending to SMEs – a share as large as any of the big banks. In addition, Canada’s credit unions are continuously helping to grow a strong Canadian economy by creating jobs, providing access to capital and contributing to tax revenue. They contribute over $6.5 billionFootnote 1  directly and indirectly to Canada’s GDP. 

For sixteen years in a row, they have proudly ranked first among all financial institutions for Customer Service Excellence in the Ipsos Financial Service Excellence Awards.

Today, credit unions and caisses populaires are full service financial co-operatives serving over 5.8 million Canadians. Like other financial institutions, they provide chequing and savings accounts, mortgages, business loans and investment advice, and are either federally or provincially regulated. They are member-owned institutions that operate under the cooperative principles. 

Helping Canadians achieve financial well-being is at the core of what they do. If you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the current crisis, or simply looking for ways to better manage and hold on to your money, reach out to your credit union or find a credit union near you and make sure to check out the many tips and tools being promoted during Financial Literacy Month.

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