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Jun 15: New Deposit Invests in Internal...

New Vancity Deposit Invests in International Development

Vancouver, June 15, 2000 - A new investment deposit developed by Vancity - the first of its kind in Canada - will invest dollars in projects to help low-income and marginalized communities around the world in their efforts towards economic self-reliance.

Through the International Community Investment Deposit (ICID), Vancity members will be able to invest in projects that benefit the poorest of the poor - the over 1.3 billion people around the world who live on less than a dollar a day.

"At Vancity, our core purpose is working with people and communities to help them thrive and prosper," said Vancity CEO Dave Mowat. "Our members have told us they support investment options that will allow them to give something back - both in their own back yard and in the broader global community. "We've responded by creating a new socially responsible investment product that combines a modest interest rate with the knowledge that each member's investment is helping to transform lives in some of the world's most impoverished countries."

Each ICID purchased becomes part of a larger pool of dollars that Vancity will invest, on behalf of its members, in innovative loan funds around the world. Investments will be targeted towards lending in the following areas:

  • microcredit lending programs;
  • affordable housing;
  • small business development;
  • community development; and,
  • establishment and support of co-operatives and credit unions.

Vancity worked closely with the U.S.-based Calvert Foundation to create the Vancity ICID.

"We're excited about collaborating with Vancity, because it shows the power of bringing larger financial institutions together to work in partnership with local institutions to bring about enormous change at the community level," said Shari Berenbach, executive director of the Calvert Foundation. "Together, we're defining a new path where capital can be used to grow communities and transform lives."

Mark Roseland, director of the Community Economic Development Centre at Simon Fraser University and a founding investor in the ICID, said: "Access to capital is a critical part of effective community economic development. As an investor, I know my dollars will make a direct contribution to sustainable economic development in countries around the world. I'm very excited about Vancity's new investment option." ICIDs are available in amounts of $1,000 or more, are RRSP-eligible, and may be used as part of an investor's overall investment portfolio. Investors will choose a fixed interest rate from zero to three per cent, for a term of one or three years. The full value of dollars invested in ICIDs will go directly to non-profit community lenders operating in communities outside Canada and the U.S. When ICID-funded loans are repaid by borrowers, our non-profit lending partners will loan those dollars out again and again, so that a member's investment will benefit several borrowers over time.

The ICID is an extension of Vancity's own microcredit programs, including peer lending and self-reliance loans, and builds on Vancity's local community investment product, the Community Investment Deposit (CID). The CID was introduced in 1995 to provide members with the opportunity to invest in local projects to bring about positive social and environmental change in Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria. Over the past five years, over $2.5 million in CID deposits have been put to work in environmental projects and affordable housing in the communities served by Vancity.

Vancity is Canada's largest credit union, with $6.4 billion in assets, 262,000 members, and 39 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet. Both Vancity and Citizens Bank are guided by a commitment to corporate social responsibility.