Backgrounder: Vancity's investment in financial literacy

As a values-based financial co-operative, Vancity considers the long-term well-being of its members and the communities where they live. Vancity is committed to increasing the financial literacy of its members and others in the community because having the knowledge, skills and confidence to make financial decisions greatly impacts overall well-being.

Financial education

  • In 2013, Vancity and its community partners delivered financial literacy workshops and seminars to close to 10,500 people.
  • Vancity's employee-driven Each One, Teach One financial literacy program covers topics like seniors financial abuse prevention, identify theft and fraud prevention, credit cards, and RRSPs and TFSAs (see list of upcoming events).
  • Since 2012, Vancity has provided $4.8 million in grants to support microfinance, financial literacy and poverty reduction.
  • The Vancity grants enable organizations like Family Services of Greater Vancouver, Burnside Gorge Community Association and Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of BC to deliver financial literacy workshops in the community.

Financial skills for businesses

  • In 2013, Vancity launched an interactive business planning workshop that helps budding entrepreneurs understand the building blocks of a great financial plan, delivered in partnership with library systems and community organizations across Metro Vancouver.
  • To date Vancity has trained more than 50 employees with backgrounds in business to coach other business members on topics like market research, cash-flow planning, marketing and business financing.

Credit card literacy

  • In 2013, Vancity enhanced its Visa statements to make them more transparent and easier for cardholders to understand.
  • Visa’s reward point redemption program encourages cardholders to use their points to improve their financial well-being—redemptions for longer-term savings products increased by 60 per cent in 2013 and totalled $3.8 million.

Access to basic financial services

  • In 2013, Vancity assisted almost 5,000 individuals through products and services designed to help low-income or marginalized people access basic banking services, obtain credit within their means, build savings or buy a home.
  • In 2013, 664 new accounts were opened at Pigeon Park Savings—almost 4,000 members living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside now bank there.
  • Vancity served 115 people either start new business, get back to work in a field they previously worked in, or buy tools or equipment to start a trade through microfinance programs in 2013.

Financial planning

  • Vancity has introduced the Good Money™ Plan to help reach members who may not otherwise take the step to engage a planner for advice and guidance.
  • Vancity's wealth-management advisors delivered seven per cent more financial plans to members in 2013, along with offering advice and tools to help members manage their investments, plan for retirement and assist with tax and estate planning.

Community impact stories

  • Each One, Teach One – Vancity's innovative program that trains employees to deliver basic financial literacy workshops.
  • Victoria Health Co-operative – provides services and workshops that empower individuals to make health lifestyle choices about food, their environment and finances.
  • Immigrant Services Society of BC - consolidating support for new refugees, including financial services, under one roof in its new Welcome House Centre.
  • Hope in Shadows – provides low-income residents of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside with training and employment.
  • DIVERSEcity – offers microloan program to help professionals from other countries access small loans to attain Canadian certification.
  • ACORN Canada – helps low-income families with their tax returns free of charge.