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Economic Benefits of Credit Unions

09/08/2017


​Why Choose a Credit Union?
Credit unions and caisse populaire have been a part of Canadians’ financial landscape for more than a century, proving time and again their value to communities and their members. What is the credit union difference and what are they doing to benefit their local economies?

For members of credit unions the answer is pretty straightforward. “I’ve always been very community-minded and love how they engage in the community, supporting local initiatives,” says Dani Healy, a senior manager in MNP’s Saskatoon office.

Dani has been a long-time credit union member, choosing the financial institution over a bank because of their innovative services and strong ties to the community she lives in. “Knowing that by being a member I’m in turn helping my local community is an amazing feeling.” 

Innovators in Financial Services
As an entrepreneurial firm committed to the communities we work and live, MNP is proud to work with more than 135 credit unions across Canada. Credit unions are on the leading edge when it comes to providing financial services. A recent example is how three large credit unions from various provinces in Canada together to be the first financial institutions in the country to provide cheque imaging services to their members. This convenient service allows members to deposit cheques through their mobile devices without having to step foot in a branch. 

Cheque imaging is only one of the many firsts credit unions can claim, including being the first in Canada to provide full-service automated banking machines and debit card services to their members. Credit unions continually focus on the evolving needs of members and in turn evolve themselves to meet those needs.

Fee-Free Accounts and ATMs
Credit unions don’t stop at bringing new technology forward.  Nobody likes to pay transaction fees and this desire to minimize member fees led to another collaboration of credit unions with the end goal of providing better member services. Through the ding free® network, members can go to any credit union ATM, anywhere across the country and use it with no surcharges. A huge ATM network with no fees – not bad in my opinion! 

Not only is this a great example of credit unions working together for members needs but also the strength and coverage of the network within Canada. Many credit unions also have no-fee accounts available for members – Conexus, Cornerstone and Innovation credit unions in Saskatchewan are prime examples of this.

Now Canada-Wide
Until recently credit unions could not expand beyond the borders of one province. However, as member needs have evolved so has the ability for credit unions to serve members nationally. Credit unions can now pursue a Federal Charter allowing them to serve members across the country. Some credit unions have also formed bank subsidiaries as a way to service needs outside their home province.

Member and Community Focus
No matter which credit union you go to or who you talk to within the system, one thing is clear: credit unions give back to their communities.  Credit unions frequently distribute a share of their profits back to members in the form of patronage dividends.  This is unique from other financial institutions.

Credit unions are truly focused on people, whether they are members or those within the communities where they operate. 

As Dani notes, “I have seen this firsthand, when an investment advisor for the credit union rented out a movie theatre and provided all his clients with two tickets to the movie and snacks. The movie he chose was one of his personal favourites. This truly was an opportunity for him to show his appreciation for the people that he helps and share a bit of himself with them as well.”  Who else can say that their financial institution cares that much about them?   

These are just some of the examples of what credit unions are doing.  Check out the credit union in your neighbourhood to see how you can benefit from their innovative services – and how they are giving back to your communities.

Contact Annette Bester, National Leader Credit Unions, at 306.664.8327 or [email protected],