News & Articles
New CEO for Affinity Credit Union
Today, Mark Lane assumes the role of Chief Executive Officer of Affinity Credit Union, one of the top 10 credit unions in Canada. Affinity is the second largest credit union in Saskatchewan, with $2.8 billion in managed assets and a network of 44 branches across the province.
He succeeds George Keter, who is retiring after serving in the credit union system across Canada for the past 30 years.
Lane has been the Chief Operating Officer of Affinity Credit Union since 2008. He has extensive experience in retail banking, mergers and strategic planning and has contributed significantly to the growth and success of the credit union in recent years.
"I am excited to begin this new opportunity" he said. "Affinity Credit Union has evolved significantly over the past decade, the product of numerous mergers, and is viewed as a true leader within both the Saskatchewan and Canadian credit union systems. I look forward to building on our current successes and to helping our teams exceed the expectations of our members."
Mark is married to Brynn and together they have a young family and make their home in Saskatoon.
For more information, contact:
Corporate Communications Manager
Affinity Credit Union
Affinity Credit Union proud to sponsor the Build A Better West Conference
As key social innovations, co-operatives and co-operation have improved lives and livelihoods in the Canadian West. They continue to perform vital roles in shaping the emerging economic, social, political, and environmental realities of the New West. Co-operating to Build a Better West is designed to promote the sharing of insights and practices that will allow co-operatives and co-operators to advance together, boldly embracing the challenges and opportunities of our times. To learn more, visit the conference website at www.buildabetterwest.com.
Affinity Credit Union Returns $2.158m to members
As part of the 2012 Co-op Week celebrations, Affinity Credit Union has announced it will return $2.158 million of 2011 earnings to its members in the form of patronage.
Affinity’s patronage program enables members to share in the profits of the credit union annually.
This year, to thank members for their commitment to the credit union, Affinity will return 38% ($2.158 million) of eligible service fees to its members and will allocate 1.5% in interest ($129,000) to members holding previous patronage payments in equity accounts.
The return of equity to members is in addition to the $1.3 million Affinity has already provided to community partners to address important issues across the province, including entry-level housing and financial literacy.
Mark Lane, CEO, said: “Our focus and direction is to help our members and their communities thrive and prosper. Giving back $2.158 million to our members and contributing $1.3 million to support worthwhile causes are just some of the ways we are doing just that.”
Co-op Week is celebrated from October 14th to 20th. It is an opportunity for Canadian co-operative and credit union members to celebrate the fact that they have collectively helped to build this country and to recognize their continuing contributions at home and abroad.
Affinity Credit Union is the 10th largest union in Canada with $2.8 billion in managed assets and a network of 44 branches across the province. It offers access to a complete range of accounts and services including insurance, and wealth management products and is a leader in delivering investment and consulting services to First Nations. Affinity Credit Union is 100% owned by more than 95,000 members, all of whom have a voice in the way they do business.
For more information, contact:
Corporate Communications Manager
Affinity Credit Union
Affinity Credit Union Building a Better World
To mark International Credit Union day, Affinity Credit Union has announced an $80,000 donation to the Co-operative Development Foundation's Build a Better World Campaign.
For many years, Affinity has taken a leadership role in community economic development across the province, focusing strongly on entry-level housing, financial literacy and support for disadvantaged and marginalized people. Through this significant donation, Affinity will enhance its support to people who are working to improve their lives and their communities through co-operatives and credit unions.
“Affinity believes in being a socially responsible corporate citizen,” said Mark Lane, CEO. “On this credit union day, it seems appropriate to announce our expanded support for community economic development, and the Build a Better World Campaign offered the perfect opportunity. We encourage other credit unions to make a significant commitment to this campaign.”
In addition to Affinity’s corporate donation, their Board of Directors has also agreed to donate one per diem per year directly to the Campaign.
The Build a Better World Campaign aims to develop and strengthen co-operatives and credit unions in marginalized communities throughout the world empowering thousands of co-op members and their families to lift themselves out of a cycle of hardship and deprivation. They seek to raise $12 million over the next four years.
According to Michael Barrett, Chair of Co-operative Development Foundation, “Co-operatives are among the most effective tools in reducing and eliminating poverty, and our long association with the international development program of the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) has proven that time and time again through hundreds of projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We are excited that Affinity is supporting this important initiative in such a big way and joining us as we work to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of the world's poorest people. The funds raised from this campaign will allow the CCA to more aggressively pursue innovation and excellence in co-operative poverty reduction."
Affinity Credit Union is the 10th largest union in Canada with $2.8 billion in managed assets and a network of 44 branches across the province. It offers access to a complete range of accounts and services including insurance, and wealth management products and is a leader in delivering investment and consulting services to First Nations. Affinity Credit Union is 100% owned by more than 95,000 members, all of whom have a voice in the way Affinity does business. For more information, go to: www.affinitycu.ca
The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) is a registered charitable organization. It raises money, mostly from Canadian co-operatives and co-op members, to help alleviate poverty by building and strengthening financial and non-financial co-ops in developing countries. Working with the Canadian
Co-operative Association and other partners, it helps poor communities fight poverty and create more secure lives through community-owned co-ops. For more information, please visit www.cdfcanada.coop.
For more information, contact:
Corporate Communications Manager
Affinity Credit Union
Director, Fundraising & Operations
Co-operative Development Foundation
613.238.6711 ext. 215
Local credit unions contribute to Parkland College Trades and Technology Centre
A group of local credit unions has partnered together to provide a leadership gift of $92,500 for Parkland College’s Trades and Technology Centre capital campaign.
Parkland College extends its thanks to Accent, Affinity, Churchbridge, Cornerstone, and Horizon Credit Unions for their generous donation.
The college’s expansion in Yorkton is necessary to sustain the rapid economic growth of East Central Saskatchewan. The state of the art Trades and Technology Centre will house training space and classrooms that will allow the college to produce more than 350 skilled graduates per year, and also upgrade the skills of 2,000 workers annually. This project represents a significant expansion of services and program delivery options that are not currently available in the Parkland region.
The Trades and Technology Centre will help deliver on the vision of a stronger Saskatchewan and bring new opportunities to the Parkland region. Investments in the project will provide the necessary resources to sustain economic, social, and cultural growth.
“Our strength as a province and a region has always been our people,” said Dr. Fay Myers, President of Parkland College. “Building communities where families are confident their children can receive a good education is vital to attracting and keeping our greatest asset.”
Saskatchewan credit unions support Ronald McDonald house expansion
Ronald McDonald House is pleased to announce Saskatchewan credit unions have come together to contribute $75,000 for the expansion of the Saskatoon house.
As well, to mark the 25th Anniversary of Credit Union Centre, Saskatchewan Credit Unions provided Ronald McDonald House with an additional $20,570 raised through a 50/50 draw in partnership with the Saskatoon Blades
"Saskatchewan Credit Unions have a long history of supporting organizations that are helping people who face challenging health issues, said Mark Lane, Chief Executive Officer, Affinity Credit Union. "We are pleased to contribute to a project that provides a warm Saskatoon welcome to families with sick children."
Saskatchewan credit unions are proud to be able to contribute to the Ronald McDonald House and to support the Saskatchewan families who may one day walk through its doors.
"Credit unions have always had a strong connection to community," says Pam Skotnitsky, Executive Vice President, SaskCentral. "And the idea that, by working together we are all better off, is at the heart of what credit unions are all about."
Plans for the house call for a 30,000 square foot addition that will add 18 guest rooms (bringing the total to 31), laundry facilities, computer room, maternal baby care rooms, play areas for siblings, expanded kitchen facilities and family gathering areas.
"Every year we have had to turn away more and more families," says Tammy Forrester, Executive Director, Ronald McDonald House, Saskatoon. "We are fortunate to be part of a caring community that has provided the means to expand our home."
There are 55 Saskatchewan credit unions who together serve approximately 500,000 members across the province. Saskatchewan credit unions build lives and fulfill dreams by helping members achieve financial well-being and by investing in their communities.
For more information, please contact:
Corporate Communications Manager
Affinity Credit Union
Tel: 306.934.4083 Cell: 306.221.9190
Easy Steps to Protect Yourself Against Fraud
March is Fraud Awareness and Credit Union Central of Canada, with permission from the Competition Bureau, is promoting The Little Black Book of Scams, Your Guide to Protection Against Fraud.
This book will help to increase your awareness of the many types of fraud and provides a number of easy steps you can take to protect yourself. Topics within the book include: lotteries, sweepstakes and contests; pyramid schemes; money transfer requests; internet and mobile phone scams; emergency scams and job and employment scams, to name a few.
It also provides practical advice on what you can do if you have been targeted or fallen victim to a fraudulent activity.
Click here to view the book.
Affinity Credit Union Enjoys Strong Loan Growth in 2012
Affinity Credit Union reported a positive year in 2012 at its Annual General Meeting on April 3rd, recording loan growth of 10.1 percent, an increase in overall assets of 6 percent, and an investment of 7.8 per cent of pre-tax profits to community development.
Affinity’s success was most notably seen in its mortgage business across all agricultural, consumer, and commercial business lines.
Speaking to credit union members in Saskatoon and via webcast at six locations throughout the province, Mark Lane, Affinity Credit Union, Chief Executive Officer, said: “I am pleased to report that in 2012 we achieved strong financial results and continued to deliver exceptional service and value to our members.”
Affinity invested $3.7 million in branch improvements in 2012, including a complete renovation of its 8th Street Branch in Saskatoon and its Davidson branch. Construction was also completed on a new Affinity Insurance Brokerage in Saskatoon. “100% of our suppliers were from Saskatchewan both in rural and urban communities,” said Lane, “underlining our commitment to investing locally to ensure a healthy future for our members, our employees and our communities,”
Throughout the year, Affinity implemented a feedback program providing members with an active voice in determining product and service expectations. As a result, several enhancements to member service were made including a $2.1 million upgrade of network infrastructure resulting in better, more timely member service.
Affinity’s leadership in corporate social responsibility was acknowledged internationally in the spring of 2012 when it was invited to join the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. This network of the world’s leading financial institutions on banking on values focuses on balancing people, our planet and profit. Affinity is only the third Canadian financial institution invited to join the alliance.
Affinity provided $1.5 million, or 7.8 per cent of pre-tax profits, to community partners to address important issues across the province, including entry-level housing, financial education and supporting new immigrants. As one example, Affinity partnered with the City of Saskatoon to provide 20 mortgages and $4.8 million in financing to low-to-moderate income families who were able to fulfill their dreams of moving from rental accommodation to home ownership. As well, Affinity provided 35 mortgages and $8.6 million in financing to assist members taking advantage of an entry-level condominium project in the Blairmore Suburban Centre in Saskatoon. “We continue to leverage our resources and partnerships to build our local economy and to help make our communities more sustainable,” said Lane.
As a subsequent event to yearend, on January 1st, Affinity completed mergers with Muenster, Colonsay and Broadview Credit Unions providing an expanded service offering to these members. “Our continued merger success affirms that Affinity is on the right path as a credible partner of choice for other credit unions and, in many ways, our approach has come to represent the model for what true partnerships can be,” added Lane.
To read Affinity’s annual report and complete financial results, go to: http://www.affinitycu.ca/about-us/media-centre/index.html
About Affinity Credit Union
Affinity Credit Union is among the largest 15 credit unions in Canada with $2.9 billion in managed assets and a network of 49 branches in 41 communities across the province. It offers access to a complete range of accounts and services including wealth management products and is a leader in delivering investment and consulting services to First Nations. Affinity Credit Union employs 625 people and is 100% owned by more than 95,000 members, all of whom have a voice in the way they do business. For more information, go to: www.affinitycu.ca
For more information, contact:
Corporate Communications Manager
Affinity Credit Union
Affinity Credit Union 2012 Annual Results
Highlights of the financial results:
- Loan portfolio grew by 10.10% to $2.02 billion
- Deposits increased by 5.35% to $2.2 billion
- Asset growth increased by 6% to $2.5 billion
- Return on equity of 11.12%
- Maintained a capital surplus of 45.7% and achieved a Tier 1 capital level of 8.63%
- Return on assets was 0.94%
Investing in Saskatchewan
- In partnership with the City of Saskatoon, provided 20 mortgages and $4.8 million in financing to low-to-moderate income families who were able to fulfill their dreams of moving from rental accommodation to home ownership.
- In partnership with the Headstart on a HomeÒ program provided 35 mortgages and $8.6 million in financing to assist members taking advantage of an entry level condominium project in Blairmore Suburban Centre, Saskatoon.
- With former Federal Government microloan programs ending early in 2012, Affinity introduced its own BusinessCents Micro Finance program which continued its commitment to local entrepreneurship and community economic development.
- Provided $80,000 to the Co-operative Development Foundation's Build a Better World Campaign to empower co-op members and their families in some of the poorest communities in Africa to lift themselves out of a cycle of hardship and deprivation.
- Raised over $85,760 for the United Way.
- Awarded $57,500 in scholarships to students pursuing post-secondary education.
- Contributed $1.5 million in aggregate to Saskatchewan communities, co-ops and projects providing support to over 350 organizations.
Advantage, Affinity and Spectra Credit Unions Announce Partnership
The Boards of Directors of Advantage, Affinity and Spectra Credit Unions are pleased to announce that their organizations will form a partnership effective July 1st 2013.
The new credit union will operate under the name Affinity Credit Union.
Members voted at Annual General Meetings hosted by each credit union in April, with membership support for the new credit union as follows:
Affinity Credit Union 97% in favour
Advantage Credit Union 93% in favour
Spectra Credit Union 94% in favour
75% approval of eligible members present at each meeting was required to proceed with the partnership.
“We are well matched,” said Scott Flavel, President, Affinity Board of Directors. “We each have a strong commitment to member service excellence and look forward to combining the expertise, knowledge and experience of our staff.”
“We look forward to strengthening our business to better serve our members” said Milton Kerpan, President, Advantage Credit Union Board of Directors. “We share similar values enabling us to continue with our strong grass roots connection to our communities and our commitment to traditional credit union values.”
“This partnership will allow for growth and diversification in both the rural and urban markets” said Wayne Amos, President, Spectra Credit Union. “It will also provide additional resources in serving our members.”
The new credit union will offer access to a complete range of accounts and services including insurance, and wealth management products. It will serve over 140,000 members from a network of 76 branches in 68 communities across Saskatchewan. Assets under administration will exceed $4.5 billion. For more information, go to: www.affinitycu.ca
For more information, contact:
Mark Lane, CEO, Affinity Credit Union, 306.934.4004
Jim Thiessen, CEO, Advantage Credit Union, 306.752.7420
Tim Schroh, CEO, Spectra Credit Union, 306.636.7724
Affinity Credit Union delivers a Revolution in Mobile Banking!
A first for Saskatchewan, Affinity launches an innovative new Mobile Banking Application, allowing cheques to be deposited using a Smartphone
Canadian Credit Unions are revolutionizing mobile banking to include deposits, and thereby driving financial services innovation across the country. Affinity Credit Union is now the first financial institution in the province to offer Deposit Anywhere™, an innovative new mobile banking app feature that makes it possible to deposit cheques from a Smartphone, anywhere in the world.
"We are extremely pleased that a collaborative credit union effort is leading the way in development and implementation of this exciting new app for Canadians,” said Mark Lane, CEO at Affinity. "Deposit Anywhere™,will answer another of the changing needs of our members today and into the future."
Deposit Anywhere™, is simple, secure and convenient. Affinity members can now deposit a cheque anywhere, anytime, in less than a minute, without having to visit a branch or find an automated teller machine (ATM). To use Deposit Anywhere™, members need to download the free Affinity mobile banking app from Apple’s App Store. Once the App has been downloaded to a device, the process is intuitive and involves a picture of the front and back of the cheque as the key part of the submission.
"Mobile banking is certainly growing in popularity with our members. The introduction of our next-generation mobile banking apps with Deposit Anywhere™, will provide an additional solution for members looking to access our services easily, quickly... and when it’s convenient for them," said Lane.
The Deposit Anywhere™, enhancement is expected to become available to members of many other credit unions across the country in the months ahead. In Affinity’s case, the service is presently limited to members with supported Apple phones and tablets, though it will be available to members with supported Android and Blackberry phones later this year.
In developing the service, Affinity partnered with Westminster Savings CU in B.C. and Meridian CU in Ontario, and contracted support from Central 1 Credit Union, CGI, CUPS Payment Services and Saskatoon-based CollegeMobile, a leading mobile app developer.
About Affinity Credit Union
Affinity Credit Union is 100% owned by more than 95,000 members, all of whom have a voice in the way they do business. Affinity, with $3.0 billion in managed assets, employs 625 people and has a network of 49 branches in 41 communities across Saskatchewan. For more information, go to: www.affinitycu.ca
For more information, contact:
Senior Vice President
Marketing and Research
Affinity Credit Union
Elwood Harvey Co-operative Leadership Scholarship
Michelle receives $2,500 in scholarship funds toward undergraduate study, has the opportunity to gain insights into Affinity's unique governance system, and the ability to actively participate in the credit union’s co-operative activities.
Scholarship recipients are chosen annually by Affinity’s District Council Delegates and must be Grade 11 students who intend to pursue post-secondary studies. The delegates select recipients based on their performance in academics, leadership, and participation in school and community activities. A total of $45,000 is available each year.
The scholarship was created in memory of Elwood Harvey an Affinity Board President and delegate, who had a life-long passion for learning and leadership and was wholeheartedly committed to the credit union movement.
For more information on the scholarship, go to: http://www.affinitycu.ca/community/scholarships/index.html
New Condominiums Under Construction in Saskatoon
Aria Condominiums, a new housing development for 66 entry-level homeowners, is officially underway in Saskatoon, thanks to $14.2 million in financing assistance through the Government of Saskatchewan’s HeadStart on a Home (HeadStart) program.
“Many people are looking for affordable and entry-level homes in Saskatoon,” Environment Minister Ken Cheveldayoff said on behalf of Social Services Minister and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation June Draude. “HeadStart is an innovative way to increase the housing supply to meet the differing needs of our growing population and economy. Most importantly, 66 lower-income individuals and families will be able to enjoy the benefits of owning a home and becoming a part of the community.”
“As the Fund Manager of HeadStart on a Home, Westcap is very pleased to have approved more than $158 million in construction financing for 973 entry-level homes to date,” Westcap Mgt. Ltd. President and CEO Grant Kook said. “HeadStart is addressing the increasing need for entry-level homes in Saskatchewan, working closely with our Credit Union partners, including this 66-unit project in Evergreen, in collaboration with the City of Saskatoon.”
Located at 225 Maningas Bend in the new Evergreen neighbourhood of Saskatoon, Aria Condominiums will be a three-storey apartment-style building consisting of 66 one- and two-bedroom units. The units range from 682 to 1,246 square feet and each is priced between $220,500 and $365,000, including GST. The homes will feature in-floor heating, central air conditioning, five appliances and underground parking. Each unit is covered with new home warranty protection. Occupancy is expected to start in October 2013.
HeadStart on a Home was announced in March 2011 to finance construction of at least 1,000 new, entry-level homes over five years. Builders and developers are eligible for construction loans of 90 per cent of the construction cost of the homes, including land, at an interest rate of four per cent.
Municipalities may apply for the loans on behalf of builders and developers. There is $200 million in funding available for the program through the Federal Immigrant Investor Program, which flows through the Saskatchewan Immigrant Investor Fund Inc. (SIIF), managed by Westcap Mgt. Ltd. (Westcap). SIIF is a subsidiary of Crown Investments Corporation.
The target sale price for homes constructed through HeadStart on a Home is at or below the MLS average sale price in each community. The homes may include condominiums, multi-unit dwellings, single family dwellings, modular homes or ready-to-move units.
Westcap is partnering with Saskatchewan credit unions (Advantage, Affinity, Conexus, Cornerstone, Diamond North, Innovation, North Valley, Plainsview, Prairie Centre, Synergy, Spectra, and Weyburn) to offer HeadStart on a Home downpayment loans for purchasers and to ensure communities across Saskatchewan have every opportunity to be a part of this housing program. Builders who are interested in meeting their community’s housing needs may contact Westcap directly.
For more information about HeadStart on a Home, www.headstartonahome.ca.
For more information, contact:
Westcap Mgt. Ltd.
Toll free 1.866.863.6237
ding free® summer road trip shows Canadians how to avoid ATM surcharges
National campaign promotes the credit union difference
Aug. 6, 2013 - The ding free® sea-to-sea road trip that is showing Canadians the benefits of banking with a credit union and saving on ATM surcharge fees kicked off in Victoria last week.
Spearheaded by an alliance of Canadian credit unions, the road trip will stop in 32 communities in an effort to spare more people from the millions of dollars lost each year to ATM surcharge fees.
Driving a special ding free van kitted out with a surcharge-free ATM, seasoned improv actors Tegan and Kyle, along with a video crew, will stop at some of Canada's most iconic roadside attractions. With the typical ATM surcharge costing a toonie, they'll be encouraging Canadians to share their ideas about just how far those toonies they keep can be stretched.
The team will explore various 'out of the ordinary' attractions and conduct interviews to reveal the unheralded and wonderfully bizarre stuff that can be found in Canada's backyard. They'll chronicle their travels through online videos and images at ding-free.ca and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Canadians can follow along with the route on the ding free site and are encouraged to give a shout out on social media if they see van on their travels.
"The summer road trip is a quintessential Canadian tradition," said David Phillips, president and CEO at Credit Union Central of Canada. "With the ding free sea-to-sea road trip, we're taking Canadians on a journey across this great land, in an effort to show how easy it is for credit union members to bank ding free - wherever they are."
Credit union members have access to at least 1,800 ding free credit union ATMs across Canada. For members whose credit unions are on both ACCULINK® and THE EXCHANGE® ATM networks, the number of ding free ATMs grows to more than 3,200 — a bigger network than most banks.
ding free credit union ATMs are identifiable by their bright green ding free decals and can be found using the ding free ATM locator app for smartphones.
For every credit union member who downloads the ding free smartphone app from ding-free.ca, Canada's credit unions will donate a toonie (up to $25,000 in total) to their choice of three charities: the Terry Fox Foundation, the Rick Hansen Foundation or the Trans Canada Trail Foundation. To date, almost $5,000 has been raised for these causes.
Last year, Credit Union Central of Canada (Canadian Central) launched the National ATM Accessibility Project, led by a national credit union committee and developed by Central 1 Credit Union's marketing team and their creative agency Dead Famous. The campaign promotes surcharge-free ATM access for credit union members under the ding free banner. Several initiatives have launched since then, from various social media initiatives to local street team activations.
"In April, we handed out over $25,000 worth of toonies in nine cities across Canada as part of our first-ever 'ding free day,' giving Canadians back some of the money they lost to ATM surcharge fees," said Martin Reed, AVP of Marketing at Central 1. "Now, we're taking our message across the country to introduce even more Canadians to ding free - not with ads, but with laughter. Because if we can't poke a little fun at ourselves, how Canadian are we really?"
Video and photos of each day's activities are available at: http://ding-free.ca/
Follow the tour: http://ding-free.ca/follow-the-tour/
See the van: https://ws.onehub.com/folders/68yhpayu
Additional content can be found at:
Twitter (ding free): https://twitter.com/dingfree
Twitter (Tegan & Kyle ding free tour): https://twitter.com/dingfreecanada
The ding free® summer road trip will be arriving in Saskatoon on August 16th and in Regina on August 17th.
Follow their progress on:
September 21 - Alert: Messaging Phishing Scam
We have received reports of fraudulent text messages/emails sent earlier today that claim to be from Affinity Credit Union. These fraudulent messages/emails have been sent to both Affinity Credit Union members and non-members. In one variation, the recipient is asked to confirm their identity, while another version says that your account is temporarily suspended. In both versions, the recipient is asked to click on a link that directs to a fraudulent (phishing) web site that attempts to gather the recipients personal and financial information.
If you receive this text message, or a similar text message or email that you believe to be fraudulent, do not respond to it. Additionally you should not click on any embedded links or open any attachments. Please notify us by forwarding a copy of the message to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact your branch or call TeleService at 306.934.4000 or 1.866.863.6237 during regular business hours. Delete such text messages or emails immediately after notifying us. If you have disclosed your password in a phishing scam and you also use this password for other online services, immediately change it on those services as well.
Please be aware that Affinity Credit Union will not ask you to provide personal information, or account access credentials such as login usernames, passwords, PINs, security questions / answers, card numbers, account numbers, etc via unsolicited email.
If you are an Affinity member who has provided any personal or financial information to such an unauthorized site online, or suspect unauthorized activity has occurred in your account please e-mail email@example.com immediately or contact your branch. Members of other credit unions, or customers of other financial institutions, who find themselves in a similar situation, should contact their respective financial institutions.
Click here for more information on Phishing.
Credit unions contributed more than $35.6 million across Canada
TORONTO, ON (October 17, 2013) – Credit unions across Canada contributed more than $35.6 million to communities last year through financial contributions, in-kind donations and volunteerism, according to a recent Credit Union Community Involvement Survey.
The 12th annual survey shows that in 2012, Canadian credit unions: gave nearly $28.5 million through donations and sponsorships; donated $1.2 million to charitable foundations; provided almost $2.1 million in donations-in-kind; and awarded $1.4 million in scholarships and bursaries. In addition, largely by reducing or waiving service charges, Canadian credit unions contributed more than $2.4 million in financial services to community organizations.
“It’s no coincidence that we are releasing the annual survey results on International Credit Union Day,” said Cheryl Byrne, vice president, Knowledge Services, Credit Union Central of Canada. “We are always seeking ways to remind Canadians that being a member of a credit union has so many benefits, and our continued goal of co-operation enables us to be diligent on our focus on building stronger communities.”
According to the survey, 76 per cent of credit union survey respondents said that their employees – representing their credit union – volunteered during their unpaid time off (up from 69 per cent a year ago); and more than half (55 per cent) of credit unions surveyed also said their employees participated in community activities as part of their paid work (up from 51 per cent in 2011). Interestingly, volunteerism is so important that it has become an integral part of employee performance evaluations for 38 per cent of responding credit unions – an increase from 32 per cent last year.
According to Byrne, some of the initiatives Canadian credit unions support includes: economic development and housing; environmental causes and disaster relief; health/long-term care; educational programs and facilities; and arts, culture and sports. Across Canada, the majority of contributions were made locally, but credit unions also supported international causes.
To support credit unions with their social responsibility efforts, Canadian Central launched an on-line resource centre in 2011 called the Credit Union Social Responsibility (CUSR) InfoHub. The InfoHub provides guides and tools for how to build a business case for social responsibility; shares credit union social responsibility success stories; promotes webinars on credit union social responsibility topics; and links to a landmark publication Credit Union Social Responsibility: A Road Map for the Development of a Sustainable Strategy. The site can be found at www.cucentral.ca/CUSR, (visit Canadian Central’s website, click on the “Communities” drop-down tab, and go to “Social Responsibility”.
About the study
The Credit Union Community Involvement Survey, conducted in 2013 for the 2012 fiscal year, gathered responses from 246 of the 348 credit unions affiliated with Credit Union Central of Canada in 2013. Fielding was conducted mid-January to mid-May for Wave 1 (Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba). Fielding for Wave 2 was conducted May to the end of August for BC, Ontario and the Atlantic region.
Results of the survey are summarized in the 2013 Social Responsibility and Canada’s Credit Unions Report. Visit www.cucentral.ca; click on the “Publications” drop-down menu, and click on “Annual Reports”.
About Credit Union Central of Canada (Canadian Central)
Credit Union Central of Canada is the national trade association for the Canadian credit union system. Canada’s credit union system is a vital competitor in the financial services industry. Canadian Central represents five regional Centrals and one Federation representing 336 credit unions with more than $156.4 billion in assets and serving over 5.3 million members, outside of Quebec. For more information about Canada’s credit union system and Canadian Central visit www.cucentral.ca.
For the ninth consecutive year, Canadians ranked credit unions first in overall Customer Service Excellence, among all financial institutions, surpassing all Canadian banks in Ipsos 2013 Best Banking Awards. Credit unions also took sole honours in: Branch Service Excellence; and Values My Business. Credit unions tied for first among all financial institutions for Financial Planning & Advice; Mobile Banking Excellence; Automated Telephone Banking Excellence and Live Agent Telephone Banking Excellence.
For more information contact:
Director, Trade Association Services
Tel: (416) 232-3417
Cell: (416) 434-8777
Credit union values make a better banking experience
Regina - National Co-op Week is a chance to celebrate how credit union values result in a better banking experience.
“We are reminding people how credit unions are unique because of our co-operative principles and values” said Keith Nixon, CEO of SaskCentral, the service organization for Saskatchewan’s 53 credit unions. “Financial success isn’t their only priority; they are also focused on making sure their members have a voice, contributing to their communities and treating their employees well.”
Credit unions are co-operatives which means every member has a vote. Members can vote for or even run for the board of directors who lead the strategic direction of each credit union.
“By choosing a credit union, members can feel good about how their money is being managed,” says Nixon. “Their impact is local, which means funds on deposit are turned into loans within the same area, improving the financial wellbeing of the families, businesses and individuals living in communities throughout Saskatchewan.”
Credit unions give back to communities as a matter of co-operative principle. This giving takes the form of patronage dividends to members and donations, in kind contributions and volunteer hours to local charities and non-profit organizations. In 2012, credit unions returned $16 million in patronage dividends to their members. Community giving amounted to $6 million. Credit union fundraising brought in more than $500,000 for causes like the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan, Red Cross Disaster Relief, Terry Fox Run and Telemiracle. Credit union employees logged nearly 30,000 hours of volunteer time for community organizations.
Credit unions celebrate International Credit Union Day on October 17, 2013 as part of national Co-op Week, October 13-19, 2013.
For more information, please contact:
Keri Schwebius, 306.566.1314
Credit Unions first in customer service for 8th consecutive year
For the eighth year in a row, Canadians have ranked credit unions first in customer service among all financial institutions. The Ipsos Best Banking Awards also gave sole first-place honours to credit unions in two other categories: "values my business" and "branch service excellence". Credit unions shared first place in two other categories: "financial planning and advice" and "telephone banking excellence." Launched in 1987, the Ispos Customer Service Index quarterly survey generates the winners of the Best Banking Awards.
Affinity Credit Union Opens An Account to Accept Donations to Help Santos Family
Affinity Credit Union has opened an account and is accepting donations at any of its 44 branches to support the family of Lorry Anne Santos who was killed in a tragic shooting incident on September 13th in Saskatoon.
She leaves a husband and four children, who range in age from five months to 16 years old.
Rob Jones, Business Development Manager, City Centre Branch, said: "We want to provide an easy way for our community to help the Santos family at this difficult time."
To make a donation, drop into any branch of Affinity Credit Union (account number 1266618).
For more information, contact:
Business Development Manager
Affinity Credit Union
Affinity Executive - 2012 United Way Community Campaign Chair
We are proud to announce that Linda Moulin, Affinity Credit Union's Chief Governance Officer, is the 2012 Community Campaign Chair for the United Way of Saskatoon. Linda is committed to community economic development and has been a strong supporter of the United Way for many years. To learn more about Linda, click here.
Spring 2012 Member Newsletter
Click here to view the latest Member Newsletter in the Media Centre.
The Garden Patch Project - Growing with the Community
The 2012 growing season at The Garden Patch kicked off Wednesday, April 18th with a press conference on the very soil where good foods will soon grow.
Myrna Hewitt, Senior VP of Marketing & Research of Affinity Credit Union, joined the Saskatoon Food Bank & Learning Centre and His Worship Mayor Don Atchison in announcing commitment to help ‘grow’ with the community.
Myrna spoke on behalf of all Saskatoon co-operatives and credit unions to announce their partnership in volunteering and participating in the project. This collaborative effort exemplifies the sprit of this special year, the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives.
Employees and elected officials of all credit unions and co-operatives in Saskatoon are invited to participate in this unique and meaningful volunteer initiative which will be launched during the Co-operative Week of Volunteering, May 28 to June 3. As a co-operative group we will volunteer our time and effort to make a difference in our community by adopting a significant plot at the community garden patch.
Our commitment to this project will go beyond the Co-operative Week of Volunteering. We will be responsible to create a garden that will provide nutritious and fresh produce for local families – from planting to harvest and everything in between.
We wish the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre well in their efforts and look forward to working with them as proud co-operative employees to change the lives of people in our community – throughout this project – and every day.
2012 International Year of Co-operatives
Proud to be a Co-operative!
The United Nations has proclaimed 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives. In Canada, national IYC efforts are being led in partnership by the Canadian Co-operative Association, the Conseil canadien de la coopération et de la mutualité and the Government of Canada.
Check out these sites to find out more!
Saskatoon CU hosts international visitor as part of mentoring program
Shelly Marapuala from Botswana is spending the next week with the staff of Affinity Credit Union in Saskatoon. She is one of 14 women currently in Canada as part of the Canadian Co-operative Associations Women’s Mentoring Program.
For the past 10 years more than 200 Canadian credit unions and 150 women from the developing world’s credit unions have participated in this program. They learn leadership skills and the ins-and-outs of day to day credit union operations.
Shelly is an accountant/assistant manager at her credit union in Botswana. Members of the credit union are employees of a mining company. She supervises six people and she wants to improve her managerial skills as well as her computer, communication and time management skills. She will spend May 10-20 with Affinity staff enhancing her skills so that she can encourage credit union members to become more loyal.
As well as helping Shelly with her training needs, the mentoring program engages Canadian credit union staff in a learning opportunity which supports the sixth co-operative principle – “Co-operation among co-operatives”. They learn first-hand about the challenges credit union staff face in a less developed country and share their skills and knowledge to help. In this year, 2012, of the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives, the women’s mentoring program is a perfect example of why co-operatives are so important in the global economy, says Laurie Tennian, Canadian Co-operative Association’s Women’s Mentoring Program manager. “Whether you are in Saskatoon or Botswana, the co-operative principles are the same. The mentoring program really drives that home and I think our Canadian and international partners recognize that the same principles and values are the foundation of the growth and success of our co-operatives.”
Core funding for this program is provided by the Partnership Program of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The staff and leaders of Canadian credit unions volunteer their time and the credit unions themselves often contribute training materials, local transportation and accommodation. Canada’s credit union managers look forward to sharing their experiences with overseas counterparts, and to learning about credit union operations from around the world. The mentoring program includes two weeks of training in Ottawa, before the women are placed in credit unions across the country. After their placements, they return to Ottawa for a week of review and reflection. To learn more about the program and its past participants, go to http://www.coopscanada.coop/en/international_dev/CCA_International_Programs/Women-Mentorship-Program
For more information, please contact Linda Moulin, linda.moulin@Affinitycu.ca, Serese Selanders, Serese.Selanders@Affinitycu.ca or Joan Yonkman, Joan.Yonkman@Affinitycu.ca or Laurie Tennian, Canadian Co-operative Association, firstname.lastname@example.org
Run a Mile In My Shoes Event
Affinity was a proud sponsor of the "Run a Mile in My Shoes" soccer shoe drop off program. During the weekend of June 14th and 15th, 2013 the public was invited to drop off used soccer shoes to our 8th Street branch in Saskatoon. A total of 60 shoes were collected and donated to inner city youth and youth in marginalized countries. Thank you for your support!
10K Giveaway Contest Winners
Congratulations to Colleen Clavelle from Saskatoon who is the Grand Prize Winner of the Affinity $10K Giveaway Contest. Business Development Manager, Don Pawluk presented Colleen with a cheque for $10,000.
We also awarded five prizes of $1,000 to:
- Steven Deugau, Langham
- Dorothy Gilchrist, Saskatoon
- Amber Fast, Saskatoon
- Kevin Thompson, Saskatoon
- Jeffrey Gamble, Regina
Congratulations to all the winners of the Affinity $10K Giveaway Contest!
Affinity Credit Union joins International Alliance
Bound by a shared commitment to find global solutions to international problems – and to promote a positive, viable alternative to the current financial system, Affinity Credit Union has been welcomed as a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). This 19 member organization is comprised of the world’s leading sustainable banks, from Asia, Latin America, US, Canada and Europe. These organizations believe that we must improve the quality of life for everyone on the planet, recognizing that we are economically interdependent and responsible to current and future generations.
“It is a great pleasure to welcome Affinity Credit Union to the GABV,” said Peter Blom, GABV Chair and CEO of European sustainable bank, Triodos Bank. “Affinity is the latest progressive financial institution to join our network. Together our members provide powerful evidence that a different financial future is possible.”
For Affinity CEO Mark Lane, membership in the GABV is recognition of Affinity Credit Union’s long-standing commitment to the members and communities it serves.
“We're proud to be leaders in corporate social responsibility,” said Lane. Affinity Credit Union has always been committed to delivering long-term social and economic benefits to our members. We achieve this through shared social values, a grass-roots governance structure, a concern for our environment and strong economic performance. Working with other GABV members will help us combine and share strengths, capabilities and resources to enhance our efforts and improve the lives of our members every day.”
For more information on the GABV, visit www.gabv.org.
Working TOGETHER to Fight Fraud
At Affinity Credit Union, we take our members’ security very seriously. That’s why we are taking the following steps to further protect you and your money:
- Enhanced card security with Chip technology.
- New ATM machines.
- Adjusting limits on ATM withdrawals.
- Adjusting limits on Point of Sale purchases.
- Verifying all ATM deposits before funds can be accessed.
What you can do to reduce the risk of potential card fraud:
- Keep your eye on your card when conducting a point-of-sale transaction, and only allow your card to be swiped once.
- Ensure the cashier does not take your card out of your sight in order to process your transaction.
- Be cautious if you are asked to swipe your card through more than one machine.
- If you suspect anything unusual or suspicious about an ATM or point-of-sale terminal do not use the machine and report it to your the financial institution immediately. Pay particular attention to any piece of equipment that appears removable.
- Be alert. If someone is watching you or makes you feel uncomfortable, cancel the transaction.
- Check your transaction records against your financial statements regularly. If you detect any unusual activity, contact your financial institution immediately.
By working TOGETHER we can reduce the risk of card fraud.
IYC BBQ Friendship Inn
Affinity Credit Union staff from a number of branches teamed up to serve lunch on Friday September 14th at the Friendship Inn. Affinity Credit Union sponsored the lunch as part of a community outreach project to support the International Year of the Co-operatives. Throughout the year, Affinity Credit Union has been involved in events and activities that commemorate IYC and promote the co-operative movement, and we were proud to once again partner with the Friendship Inn on this event.
Eight Affinity Credit Union staff members helped prepare and serve just over 1000 meals which included hot dogs, hamburgers, salad, corn, and juice on Friday. With additional donations from Maple Leaf Meats, Monchuk Family Farms, Sobey's and Safeway, and other local farmers, it was truly great to see everyone come together in the spirit of IYC and make a real difference in the community.
Thank you to the Affinity Credit Union volunteers who came out on Friday - Elaine Hankewich, Yvette Diederichs, Kathy Grant, Winnie Mombo-Makay, Terry Deering, Anita Kunz, and Jason Li - thank you so much for donating your time! And a big thank you to the Friendship Inn for the amazing work they do providing programs and meal service, twice a day, 365 days a year to men, women, and children in our community. They truly are making a huge difference in this city.
Celebrating Our Community Partners
Affinity Credit Union was proud to host a reception in the Affinity Gallery of Saskatchewan Craft Council. This was a celebration of Affinity’s 52 Saskatoon partners and the difference they make in the community every day.
The list of community partners and the good work they do is diverse. Some of the partners are the: Canadian Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, John Howard Society, Ness Creek Music Festival, Oskayak High School, READ Saskatoon, Saskatoon Downtown Youth Centre – EGADZ, Saskatoon Zoo Foundation and Tamara's House.
Affinity is proud of its community partners.
Equity Building Program
His Worship Mayor Donald Atchison, and Mark Lane, Chief Operating Officer of Affinity Credit Union today celebrated the launch of an innovative new housing program called the Equity Building Program. In an ongoing effort to meet the needs of today's potential home owners, The City of Saskatoon, in partnership with Affinity Credit Union, launched the Equity Building Program with the aim of assisting low to moderate income households in moving from rental accommodations to home ownership.
Recent statistics indicate that many moderate income (household income between $44,500 and $70,000) households in Saskatoon are now dedicating 40% of their pre-tax household income towards shelter costs. This is approximately 8% higher than the standard permitted by private lending institutions. The aim of the Equity Building Program is to assist moderate income households in moving from rental accommodations to home ownership. The Program is designed to allow eligible applicants to access market financing from a private lending institution, and to target moderate-income working individuals and families to purchase a dwelling for homeownership.
Supporting 250 households over a five year period, the program will allow eligible households to purchase a home (includes all forms of housing in any part of the city) ranging in value from $220,000 to $280,000. The program will assist the homeowner with the down payment requirement by providing assistance of approximately $12,000 per unit.
“The City of Saskatoon is pleased to invest in the Equity Building Program to help people with modest incomes become homeowners in a time of rising house prices,” said His Worship Mayor Donald Atchison.
“We are delighted to create more accessible homeownership opportunities for our members. Community investment is one of the socially responsible ways we do business and together with the City we are contributing to stronger, healthier communities,” added Mark Lane, Chief Operating Officer of Affinity Credit Union.
To support the program, the City of Saskatoon will invest $3 million with the Affinity Credit Union. The program is expected to support 50 eligible applicants per year over a period of five years with an average down payment of $12,000.
For further information, contact:
Shelwin House Donation
Instead of exchanging gifts at their Christmas party this year, staff from Kamsack, Norquay, Pelly, Togo and Lintlaw each bought a new toy and donated them to Shelwin House in Yorkton which offers emergency shelter for women and their children.
Affinity Credit Union Wins Community Involvement Award
Affinity Credit Union is the winner of this year’s Community Involvement Award presented by Saskatoon Awards for Business Excellence (SABEX).
The award was presented at the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce Celebrate Success! Gala held at TCU Place on May 18th.
Receiving the award on behalf of the Credit Union was Senior Vice President Corporate Development, Linda Moulin. She said: “This is a prestigious award and an honour for our Credit Union. It recognizes our commitment to community partnerships and the tremendous work staff do to help our members and communities thrive and prosper.”
Affinity Credit Union invested $1.3 million in contributions to community development and corporate citizenship in 2010 and its 610 employees spent 24,920 hours volunteering: an economic value of $604,310.
“As a locally-owned financial cooperative, we take pride in making a difference in people’s lives. We are socially responsible and support our community financially through sponsorships, donations, and non-traditional loans, and through employee voluntary work in a variety of ways to create positive change,” added Moulin.
“Time and again, we hear glowing accounts of the positive impact that our community development programs have had on individuals and families throughout Saskatchewan, particularly in the areas of affordable housing, health, learning and education, environment, arts and culture and community building. The dedicated employees, and elected officials at Affinity Credit Union make all the difference!"
Affinity Credit Union is the second largest credit union in Saskatchewan and aims to be the financial institution of choice. It offers access to a complete range of financial services including insurance and wealth management products to over 95,000 members through a network of 44 branches in 36 communities across the province.