Banking with Social Impact: How Credit Unions Are Supporting Causes and Communities in Canada

Social Impact

Banking with Social Impact: How Credit Unions Are Supporting Causes and Communities in Canada

Social Impact

Want to learn how to bank with social impact? Life is full of choices that can shape your everyday life. For many Canadians, one of the most important financial decisions you can make is where you choose to keep your money. Whether you are saving for a rainy day or looking to invest towards your future, consider joining the over 10 million Canadians who do their banking with a credit union and become part of an institution that cares about their community, the economy, and the environment.

The Credit Union Difference: How Canada’s Credit Unions Are Making a Positive Impact in their Communities

Promoting financial literacy
Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadians is a central part of the credit union identity. After all, with the proper financial education, you can put yourself on a clear path to financial freedom. To strengthen Canadians’ financial education, credit unions across the country have taken the initiative to provide financial literacy workshops to their members and local communities through the Each One, Teach One (EOTO) program. This program trains employees of Canadian credit unions to deliver workshops on topics such asbasic budgeting, managing debt, loans you don’t want and more.Workshops are delivered in plain language without any ties to products or services, with the sole goal of empowering Canadians to take control of their financial future.Since 2019, Canada’s credit unions have delivered over 930 Each One, Teach One workshops to over 13,000 Canadians in communities across Canada. Bottom line, credit unions care about enhancing the financial knowledge of their community members – that’s the credit union difference!

Advancing reconciliation
Reconciliation is imperative for Canada’s credit unions, and many are taking active steps in their efforts to address the financial and economic barriers faced by Indigenous peoples and communities. Canada’s credit unions are each at different stages of their reconciliation journey but are working towards achieving reconciliation at their own pace and in their own way.

British Columbia’s Vancity Credit Union is one of the most advanced and progressive in terms of its initiatives toward achieving reconciliation. The credit union made reconciliation a core organizational value in 2015, and actively works with Indigenous communities and community partners to provide support for Indigenous peoples and businesses and build financial resilience.

Giving back to their communities
Canada’s credit unions are constantly looking for ways to support their local communities and neighbourhoods. In 2021, Canada’s credit unions donated more than $40 million through charitable organizations and initiatives, and their staff volunteered more than 77,694 hours.

One example of this is Saskatchewan’s Diamond North Credit Union – they provide local financial and volunteer support through their CUSucceed Community Enrichment Program. A recent recipient of the program is Harley’s Community Garden in Prince Albert. The garden has a four-season greenhouse where the credit union’s staff act as volunteer gardeners, and the produce grown issupplied to the localhomeless shelter and food bank.In addition, Harley’s House is being built next to the garden which will provide a supportive living environment for individuals aged 18-21 transitioning out of foster care.

Taking action against climate change
Credit unions care about the environment, and many areresponding toclimate change in various ways. In 2021, 55% of credit unions reduced their paper waste through specific program(s); 38% of credit unions offered eco-loans and/or socially responsible investment products; and 21% of credit unions distributed loans to social enterprises, co-operatives or other businesses that have an explicit mission to address social and/or environmental issues.

Helping small businesses grow
From mom-and-pop coffee shops to local jewelry boutiques, small businesses are the backbone of Canada’s economy. Credit unions have always shown their support for Canadian entrepreneurs, offering financial assistance to local businesses in an effort to help them survive and thrive! In fact, credit unions are the largest financial lenders to small and medium-sized businesses, holding 21% percent of the lending market share in Canada, and funding over 374,360small and medium-sized businesses across a wide rangeof industries and sectors.

Opening the employment doors for Canadians
Looking for a new job? Consider working for your local credit union. Credit unions play a vital role in stimulating the economy in their local communities – this includes offering desirable employment opportunities to Canadians. By providing good jobs in cities from coast to coast, credit unions are not only strengthening the Canadian economy but also offering more ways for Canadians to make an income. And while 74% of jobs at big banks are located in Ontario’s big financial hubs, credit unions have their head offices based locally, with professional jobs available across Canada. Simply put, whether you live in a big city, rural community, or anything in between,there could be a job opportunity for you at your local credit union.

Supporting homeownership
If you are in the market for a home, one important consideration before you pull the trigger is selecting a trusted financial institution to help guide you through the home-buying process – and many Canadians turn to Canada’s credit unions. Credit unions are among the largest financial lenders to prospective homeowners in Canada. Yep, that is right! In 2022, Canada’s credit unions distributed $144 billion in residential mortgages to Canadians.Credit unions are also a popular choice because they can help their members financially plan and prepare for the expected – and unexpected – costs of owning a home,and theyare committed to protecting your homeownership dreams. Consider speaking with a financial advisor at your local credit union to determine the mortgage options available and how a credit union can help you secure the financing to purchase your dream home.

2021 Community & Economic Impact Report

Credit unions put you and your community first…. become a credit union member
Canada’s credit unions are redefining what it means to put members first. From helping Canadians become homeowners to enhancing their financial knowledge, credit unions in Canada have a longstanding history of improving Canadians’ social and economic standing. If you are looking for a financial institution that genuinely cares about its members and employees, and invests in its community, then a credit union might be right for you. Not yet a member? Find your local credit union here.