Warm welcomes

It’s in our DNA to welcome people, not turn them away

Vancity is committed to social justice and financial inclusion for everyone, including newcomers (both immigrants and refugees). Together with our members and community partners, we support newcomers by offering the financial tools they need to become comfortable and confident in their new communities.

Banking basics
Opening a bank account is an essential first step in building credit and safely managing money. But when you don’t have a birth certificate or other standard identification, it’s not easy. We work with settlement agencies to help refugees qualify for low-barrier, no-fee bank accounts on arrival.

Financial literacy
Newcomers can face cultural and language barriers that make it difficult to make informed financial decisions. Through our staff volunteer financial literacy workshops, Vancity provides basic financial literacy skills to help newcomers improve their financial savvy and wellbeing. We have also shared our program with almost 100 other credit unions across Canada so they can similarly support newcomers in their communities.

Welcome Centre
We invested $1 million dollars and lent $200k in predevelopment funds to help ISSofBC build a new Welcome Centre for government assisted refugees in Vancouver, which opened in 2016. First of its kind in the world in wrap-around supports, this 58,000-square-foot facility includes housing units, a healthcare clinic, classrooms, a Vancity banking kiosk, and so much more through the co-location of a range of settlement partners. In 2019, ISSofBC opened a second Welcome Centre in Guildford, which provides second step supports for refugees, post-arrival, and also brings together other settlement partners and agencies, including an onsite Vancity office.

Microfinance
Working with a range of settlement agencies, we offer credit to newcomers who need to pay to purchase tools for a trade or home business, upskill in a trade or profession, or pay for a work permit before they can start working and earning.

Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Loan Program
The FCR Loan Program provides loans for foreign trained individuals that encounter issues related to the recognition of their academic credentials. Through the program, and in partnership with ISSofBC, SUCCESS and PICS, Vancity help these newcomers pay for challenge exams or recertification in their chosen profession.

Humanitarian funding
In 2015, we established the Vancity Humanitarian Fund to address the Syrian refugee crisis, help refugees in our community, and provide ongoing support for humanitarian issues worldwide. To date, we have disbursed in excess of $200k to international and local refugee projects.

Refugee sponsorship
In 2019, we announced a five-year commitment (as a start) to support and sponsor a refugee family to resettle in our service area. Each year, working with ISSofBC, we’ll welcome another family to our community: providing financial support, mentorship for life in Canada, and help with job placement. We are challenging fifty other business entities to join us in this work.

Make your money count

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Not only will you have access to a breadth of financial services and expert advice, but you'll also make a real impact in your community.

Already a member?

You can donate to the Vancity Humanitarian Fund, so we can build a thriving community together.