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Spotlight: Building A More Values-Based Ontario

Canada's credit unions may not be the same size as the big banks, but that doesn't mean they're small.

It’s easy to tell when something is built to last. Ontarians have endured decades of fast food, fast fashion, quick-cash, and big money bailouts. It’s time we got back to what’s important - building our community, and improving the Canadian way of life, both for ourselves and for the next generation. We are ushering in the age of reliability.

Reliability means that you can plan for a future that can include tackling student debt, buying your first house or growing your business. It means that if you work hard and save responsibly, you’ll reap the rewards. Reliability means knowing that your financial institution will always have your back. But who do we rely on if we don’t (or won’t) trust our bank? The answer lies locally, right in Ontario.

Credit unions aren’t banks, and they’re proud of that fact. Multinational banks chase money across the globe, whereas credit unions keep all of their members’ dollars invested in the local economy. The Bay Street banks will always pursue profit at any cost, speculate on dubious, intangible assets and prioritize the quickest buck. Conversely, Ontario’s credit unions aren’t scouring the darkest corners of the Earth for the latest boom-and- bust business ventures. Representing the best interests of their members, the credit unions value reliability and security, and have been helping to build our communities since 1908.

Banking with a credit union may seem like banking with one of the Big 5, but the results are profoundly different. Opening an account means becoming a member, and actually owning a portion of the credit union. Transparency and accountability are of the utmost importance to credit unions, because they answer directly to their members. It is the members who vote for the people who sit on the Board of Directors, and they get a say on many matters vital to the credit union.

Credit unions allow you to access your money anywhere, with over 4,100 ding free® ATMs across the country – a network larger than most banks. Banking
locally means your money stays in Ontario, creating more opportunities for your neighbours and yourself. Credit unions are also more likely to help budding local businesses get off the ground, or help new families get into the housing market. When you care about the community, you value sustainable
growth far more than risky short-term gains. Credit unions are making the sensible choice, and looking after their most important investment: the members they serve.

Best of all, anyone can join a credit union – whether you’re planning for retirement, or opening a savings account for your family’s newest addition. Credit unions always get to know their members, including their priorities and their values. In turn, their members shape the way they operate.

The Bay Street banks are meant to provide a feeling of stability and security, but the public’s trust is dwindling. Time and again, their actions have contradicted their claims. Trust levels are at an all-time low, as the big banks’ callous nature has revealed a corporate culture that pushes their employees to oversell, even as they underperform.

Canada’s credit unions may not be the same size as the big banks, but that doesn’t mean they’re small. Overall, Canada’s credit unions have combined
assets worth more than $350 billion. Their rates are comparable to the commercial banks (or better), without all the uncertainty as to where your money is going or who it is profiting. Like the banks, all non-registered deposits are automatically covered up to $100,000 (rising to $250,000 in January 2018), and credit unions offer fewer restrictions and unlimited coverage on all registered deposits. Because your money stays in Ontario, you get the security of knowing that it is still close to home.

We are a generation of Canadians who think differently, and 11% of Ontarians are members of a credit union already. Whether it’s on a mortgage, a line of
credit or a chequing account, these members are reaping the financial and economic benefits of banking with a credit union. The credit unions of Ontario are made up of people just like you – people who know what a sustainable business model looks like in our province, and strive to invest locally in their members and the communities they serve. Can your bank claim the same values?

This Content is made possible by our Sponsor; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff.