Highlights

Vancity highlights—our firsts, milestones and differentiators

2016

2015

  • In response to the refugee crisis, Vancity develops the Vancity Humanitarian Fund with the Vancity Community Foundation and commits to matching all donations up to $125,000. Initial donations are distributed to the UN Refugee Agency, with additional donations designated to local charities that help refugees settle in local communities.
  • The International Co-operative Alliance invites Vancity president and CEO Tamara Vrooman to lead an event celebrating International Day of Co-operatives at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The event, designed to influence UN ambassadors and representatives, promotes co-operatives as a business model that is well-suited to deliver sustainable development.
  • Vancity Investment Management works with IA Clarington to divest oil, gas or coal-producing companies from the IA Clarington Inhance Global Equity SRI Fund and offers members an investment fund that is free of fossil fuels.
  • Assets reach $18.6 billion.
  • Vancity works with the 'Namgis First Nation and the Village of Alert Bay to open a branch on Cormorant Island -- the first agreement in Canada that brings together a financial services provider with a First Nation government and municipality to provide access to local banking services in a remote market.

2014

2013

2012

  • Vancouver Public Library and Vancity partner to offer free financial literacy workshops at VPL locations around the city, including Vancity’s Each One, Teach One workshops.
  • Vancity’s Tamara Vrooman joins the Council for Clean Capitalism as one of seven founding CEOs committed to incorporating social, economic and ecological benefits and costs into their companies’ business practices. The Council seeks to create an economic model based on ‘what is good for business is good for the environment and society.’
  • Vancity is the first organization to join the World Wildlife Fund and Coastal First Nations in support of the Great Bear region.
  • Vancity provides a half a million dollar grant to and partners with Reconciliation Canada in support of Aboriginal Communities and the reconciliation process.
  • Taylor Manor receives a $1.2M donation from Vancity for supportive housing to help individuals struggling with mental illness and addiction break the cycle of homelessness and establish stability in their lives.
  • Vancity redesigns two of its branches, South Burnaby and Shaughnessy Station Community Branches, to become community hubs where you can also get the savvy financial services and advice you need, while helping build community.
  • Vancity brings people together to create positive local impact with Good Money Mobs.
  • Assets reach $16.1 billion and the credit union achieves its fourth consecutive year of increased net earnings.
  • Vancity showcases the worldwide sustainable banking movement by hosting the Global Alliance for Banking on Values annual conference in Vancouver.
  • The Global Alliance for Banking on Values (which Vancity is a member of) issues a report showing sustainable banks outperform world’s largest banks.

2011

  • Vancity becomes the largest organization in Canada to adopt the Living Wage policy recognizing the social and economic benefits of paying employees and service providers a wage that meets their basic living needs.
  • Vancity and the Vancouver Foundation launch the Resilient Capital Program geared to specifically finance and support the growth of innovative social enterprises and mission-based businesses using creative financing solutions.
  • Vancity celebrates 65 years as a financial co-operative with a number of events and activities in the communities we work and live in throughout the year.
  • Vancity’s signature financial literacy program, Each One, Teach One (EOTO), receives recognition with a 2011 National Credit Union Award for Community Economic Development.
  • Assets reach $15 billion.
  • Vancity is recognized with the prestigious Rix Award for Corporate for Engaged Corporate Citizenship.
  • Vancity launches the Smart Money™ Remittance program enabling members to send money to the Philippines quickly, conveniently and inexpensively.

2010

  • Vancity achieves its best ever financial results in its 65 year history.
  • Squamish Highlands and Downtown branches consolidate to unveil the new Squamish Savings branch at the Chieftain Centre. The Morgan Creek Community Branch opens in Surrey.
  • 60 W. Cordova: Vancity partners on affordable housing development in Downtown Eastside, making home ownership a possibility for people on an annual income of $40,000.
  • Vancity launches the Co-op Home Loan offering a unique and streamlined option for members interested in buying into a housing co-op.
  • Vancity joins The Global Alliance for Banking on Values, which uses finance to deliver sustainable development for unserved people, communities and the environment.

2009

  • Vancity becomes the first credit union in Canada to participate in the First Nations Market Housing Fund, which gives First Nations members greater access to housing loans on reserve and on settlement lands where appropriate.
  • Dockside Green celebrated opening of Biomass Heat Generation Plant, helping it become the first ‘greenhouse gas positive’ community in North America. The development also received recognition by the Clinton Climate Initiative as one of a select number of developments around the world to be selected as a “Climate Positive Development”
  • Vancity announces the sale of Vancity Insurance Services Ltd. to The Co-operators Group
  • Citizens Bank of Canada shifts focus to Visa card services and foreign exchange and leaves the personal banking marketplace
  • Vancity enters into a new era of sustainable wealth management through the national distribution of Inhance SRI funds by entering into the strategic partnership with Industrial Alliance Clarington.
  • First master planned development (Dockside Green) to target LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certificationand reach its goal for the entire community. Dockside Green set world records for Platinum ratings for both LEED® for Core and Shell (LEED®-CS) and for Stage 2 LEED® for Neighborhood Development (LEED® ND) through the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • Vancity assumes 100 per cent ownership of Dockside Green.

2008

  • Vancity achieves carbon neutrality; a first for a North American-based financial institution. Through a rigorous emissions reduction program, Vancity is able to reach this goal two years earlier than planned.
  • Vancity is awarded the first-ever Green Company Award for Environmental Leadership at the Canadian Investment Awards.
  • Vancity merges with Greater Victoria Savings Credit Union.
  • The first residents move into Synergy, the first residential buildings at Dockside Green. The community sets a world record for environmental sustainability, achieving the highest LEED rating in the world in the category of new construction.
  • Vancity launches financial literacy program delivered by staff, Each One, Teach One, helping community members develop confidence and competence in managing their finances and asking for service.
  • Vancity unveils a new vision to redefine wealth that includes financial, social and environmental well-being for our members and the communities where we live and work.

2007

  • Vancity becomes the first full-service financial institution to offer its own socially-responsible mutual funds—Vancity Circadian Funds.
  • Walnut Grove Community Branch opens in Langley; South Slopes Community Branch opens in Burnaby; Lynn Valley Community Branch opens in North Vancouver.
  • Past Vancity CEO Dave Mowat is selected to participate in Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” training. Vancity launches carbon offset program to invest in Canadian solutions to climate change.
  • Vancity launches the first Lower Mainland bike sharing initiative.
  • Vancity merges with Van Tel/Safeway Credit Union.

2006

  • Vancity celebrates its 60th Anniversary.
  • Funds under administration top $1 billion.
  • Vancity launches the Mixer Mortgage, a product to make it easier for non-traditional groups of individuals to purchase a new home.
  • $1-million Vancity Award is awarded to Quest Outreach Society for the expansion of BC's only food exchange program diverting perfectly good excess food from going to waste and redistributing it to those in need.
  • Springboard Mortgage is launched to help residents in social housing to purchase their own homes.
  • Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Dr. Muhammad Yunus endorses Vancity’s micro-credit toolkit.

2005

  • Vancity introduces the myTreat VISA gift card, the first of its kind from a Canadian financial institution.
  • First financial institution in North America to win a Ceres-ACCA North American Sustainability Reporting Award for its environmental, social and financial sustainability reporting.
  • Vancity and its members contributed $335,501 to support Oxfam Canada's tsunami relief efforts in Southeast Asia.
  • Westview Community Branch opens in North Vancouver as does the Pitt Meadows Community Branch.
  • Vancity merges with Village Credit Union.
  • Vancity introduces an innovative partnership approach to credit union mergers; merging with Squamish Credit Union under the new model.
  • Citizens Bank named best bank in Canada for corporate social responsibility.
  • Vancity is featured on CBC Venture's "Big Switcheroo" program.
  • PLEA Community Services Society of BC is awarded the $1-million Vancity Award for the KidStart Mentoring Program and Centre.
  • Vancity commits to being carbon neutral by 2010; Vancity and Citizens Bank CEOs commit to being the first-ever carbon neutral—or emission-free—executives.
  • Vancity creates a new micro-credit toolkit for non-profits serving new immigrants.

2004

  • Youth Credit Union program is expanded to secondary schools.
  • Vancity provides support and back office- services for Pigeon Park Savings in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, helping bring financial services to low-income residents.
  • Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society receive the $1M Vancity Award for the construction of the Phoenix Centre in Surrey.
  • Maclean’s named Vancity the best employer in Canada—the only time the magazine has chosen to single out an employer from its annual list.
  • Vancity receives the Best Practices Award from the American Psychological Association for healthy workplaces—a first for any Canadian company.
  • Vancity becomes the first credit union in North America to receive an R1 rating from the Dominion Bond Rating Service
  • Vancity introduced unlimited, free bill payments and transfers for retail members using online and automated telephone banking becoming the first Canadian full-service financial institution to eliminate fees for online and telephone banking.
  • Bright Ideas Home Financing was introduced for energy efficient home renovations—the first in Canada.
  • Vancity Enterprises and its partner Windmill Development Group win the bid to redevelop Victoria’s Dockside lands into Dockside Green.

2003

  • The Lynn Creek Community Branch opens and the West End Branch opens in a temporary location.
  • Vancity is the first to offer a loan and a preferred rate for the purchase of a low CO2 emission vehicle–the Clean Air Auto Loan.
  • Vancity enters into a sponsorship agreement with Vancouver International Film Festival, creating the Vancity Theatre.
  • Vancity $1M Award is granted to Women’s Information Safe House (WISH) for the construction of a Wellness Centre.

2002

  • First Canadian financial institution to market to the gay and lesbian community through mainstream advertising.
  • Vancity launches new myVISA plus Rewards Program, one of the most comprehensive credit card rewards program on the market.
  • Vancity Award is granted to Vancouver East Cultural Centre. The funds eventually support the creation of The Cultch which now offers programming in theatre, dance and music by local, national and international artists.

2001

  • Vancity enters into partnership with Real Assets (later, Inhance) to provide socially responsible portfolio management services.
  • Inventure Solutions, a technology subsidiary created via a partnership between Vancity and Surrey Metro Savings Credit Union, is launched.
  • Vancity members voted to award the first annual $1-million Vancity Award to Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST) to be used for a greenway to run from New Westminster to Vancouver. The Central Valley Greenway opens in 2009.
  • Vancity partners with Western Economic Diversification to create the ABLED (Advice and Business Loans for Entrepreneurs with Disabilities) program.

2000

  • Vancity consults with members, staff and community leaders to develop Statement of Values and Commitments.

1999

  • Mission Community Branch opens.

1998

  • Vancity is the first among its competitors to put a computer in each branch (VAST system), moving the daytime load away from a central computer and eliminating the need for members to fill out deposit and withdrawal slips.
  • Vancity launches the Peer Lending Program, a unique credit arrangement to enable would-be entrepreneurs to access credit by guaranteeing each others loans in lieu of collateral.
  • Vancity Place for Youth, an employee fundraising project, opens for business (later becomes part of Covenant House).

1997

  • Vancity becomes the first financial institution in Canada to establish a totally branchless bank (Citizens Bank of Canada) and offer the first wireless, floating bank machines in Canada as BC Ferries’ customers are given access to cash on two of the fleet’s largest vessels through Vancity’s wireless ATMs.
  • Abbotsford Community Branch opens and the merger with Teacher Savings Credit Union, results in the first Vancity branch on Vancouver Island.
  • Vancity launches the newly branded enviroVISA card where profits support local environmental projects through the enviroFund™.

1996

  • Vancity celebrates its 50th anniversary!
  • The VISA Cash Card Pilot officially launches at Vancity Centre; then-CEO Bob Quart became first person in the world to use a Vancity Visa Cash Card while at McDonald's.
  • Vancity opens its first elementary school Youth Credit Union in Burnaby. This program sets up mini-financial institutions in local schools to help young people save money, learn about money management, improve their math skills, and develop work and life skills from working as a team and running a business.
  • The Port Coquitlam Community Branch and the in-store branch at Save-On-Foods (Metrotown) opens.

1995

  • The new corporate office at Main and Terminal opens for business along with the Chilliwack Community Branch.
  • Vancity Direct, the first interactive home banking system in Canada, is launched and we participate in the first North America retail trial of Visa Cash smart card technology.
  • Vancity purchases Oliver & Moore Associates Ltd. to provide discretionary, segregated investment management services to members with high net worth. The name was changed to Vancity Investment Management Ltd.

1994

  • The Surrey City Centre Community Branch and Guildford Community Branch open while ground is broken for the new head office building and the Vancity Centre Community Branch at Main and Terminal.
  • Vancity assets exceeded $4 billion.
  • Vancity, through a partnership with The Workplace Ministry Society, starts the Ethics in Action Awards event which has since spread across Canada.
  • Multilingual service available through automated telephone banking and ATMs.

1993

  • Vancity offers Canada’s first Community Investment Deposit, providing 1% below normal interest rates which is then passed on for community projects.
  • Chinatown Community Branch and the Maple Ridge Community Branch open.

1992

  • Newton Community Branch opens in Surrey.

1991

  • Vancity is Canada’s first credit union to acquire a trust company, Citizens Trust Company.
  • Vancity announces the Investment Share offering, raising $15 million in 10 days.

1990

  • Vancity becomes the first in Canada to contribute VISA profits to grants for environmental initiatives by establishing the EnviroFund™.
  • The White Rock Community Branch and Richmond Community Branch open.
  • Vancity introduces the 24-Hour Service Line for automated telephone banking.

1989

  • In November 1989, Vancity’s assets reach $2 billion. It takes 34 years to reach the first billion, but only 10 to reach the second.
  • Vancity members establish Vancity Community Foundation with a $1 million endowment with a mandate to enrich the community while building on the values of the credit union through a co-operative version of philanthropy.

1988

  • Vancity is the first Canadian financial institution to offer a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

1987

  • Vancity expanded TeleService to offer members even more telephone banking options and becomes the first financial institution in Canada to use one central number to access service (became “one name, one number” in 1997).
  • Joins the INTERAC ATM network to enable members to access their funds across Canada and the Eastern United States.
  • Langley Community Branch opens.

1986

  • Vancity offers Canada's first socially responsible mutual fund, the Ethical Growth Fund. Point Grey Community Branch opens.

1985

  • North Vancouver Community Branch opens its doors.
  • With the introduction of TeleService, Vancity gives members the flexibility to check their account balance, get product/service information and apply for loans and mortgages over the phone.

1984

  • Coquitlam Community Branch opens.

1983

  • Vancity participates in the first international ATM service (The Exchange). Also, Vancity becomes the first financial institution to offer tax preparation service to its regular members.
  • North Delta Community Branch opens.

1982

  • Kingsway & Marlborough Community Branch opens.

1981

  • Vancity introduces Creditline.
  • Sandra Sutherland becomes Vancity’s first female board member.
  • The North Road and Lougheed Community branches opens.

1980

  • Assets reached $1 billion and the Kerrisdale Community Branch and 66th & Granville Community Branch open.
  • Vancity becomes the first in Canada to offer an all-in-one statement and the first of its competitors to offer term deposits with a $100 minimum.

1979

  • The 10th & Cambie Community Branch opens and Vancity Insurance Services is established.

1978

  • Three more branches open: Broadway & Arbutus Community Branch, Commercial & Kitchener Community Branch and Kingsway & Joyce Community Branch.

1977

  • Vancity goes high-tech with GEAC on-line system, the first universal access inter-branch banking capability in Canada.
  • Pender & Hornby Community Branch opens its doors.

1975

  • Vancity becomes the largest credit union in Canada.
  • Vancity pioneers the GEAC 800 computer system for financial institutions.

1974

  • 26th & Main Community Branch and 47th & Fraser Community Branch opens.

1973

  • Assets top $100 million.
  • Hastings & Madison Community Branch in Burnaby opens.

1971

  • Head office moves to 1030 West Broadway.

1970

  • Hollyburn Credit Union merges with Vancity to form the West Vancouver Community Branch.

1967

  • Vancity introduces Plan 24 - the first daily interest savings account—a fairer and more accurate way to pay and charge interest—in Canada! All calculations are done manually and the account takes off helping credit unions prosper over the next decade.

1966

  • Membership reaches 10,000.
  • Vancity acquires its first computer.

1965

  • Assets reach $10 million.
  • Broadway & Waterloo Community Branch open.

1962

  • Vancity's assets reach $5 million—making it the largest credit union in BC.
  • Hastings & Kamloops Community Branch opens.

1961

  • Vancity introduced Working Dollars member newsletter.
  • In the early 1960s, Vancity begins lending to women without a male co-signer. Even if a woman has an income, banks deem it too unstable because she is expected to quit work to have children and an at-home career. Pioneering Vancity manager Don Bentley pushes to recognize all members as equals, regardless of gender. A very proud first in our story.

1959

  • Vancity is the first financial institution in Canada to offer open mortgages.

1957

  • Vancity’s second branch—40th & Victoria Drive Community Branch—opens.

1952

  • Vancity hires first paid employee, Edward Sewell.

1951

  • Vancity’s membership base reaches 2,000 and personal chequing accounts are introduced.

1946

  • Fourteen Vancouverites, frustrated with the lack of financial services available to regular folks, sign a charter and on October 11, 1946, Vancouver City Savings Credit Union is open for business.
  • Vancity operates from the Credit Union Building at Broadway and Quebec, a former machine shop, during its early years. In the first year, the first loan given was for $100, assets grew to $2,966.00 by end of year and we merged with the U.B.C Employees Credit Union. Total profits for 1946 were $0.83.
  • Vancity is the first financial institution to provide mortgages to people living east of Cambie in Vancouver’s working-class east end.