Joint statement by Vancity Chair and
Vancity President and CEO on
national credit union legislation

May 7, 2014, Vancouver, B.C. As many of you who follow the financial services sector are aware, a significant change for credit unions arose in 2012 when Canada’s federal government introduced legislation to allow credit unions to operate beyond their historic provincial boundaries.

Since that time, many credit unions have been examining what path they should follow in this new, expanded landscape. We at Vancity have been thinking deeply about this question.

And the answer is right in front of our eyes. Here. In British Columbia. We are resolutely BC-based.

That is probably not quite the answer many people expect to hear from Vancity when they ask the question “when are you going federal?” But we know it’s absolutely the right one for our members and for our province.

Our work is grounded in the local economy – where people live and work, where goods and services are created and purchased. Our source of capital is the community itself: member deposits fund member loans; money that is invested in those who are making positive impacts through their businesses, social enterprises and not-for-profit organizations.

And our democratic form matters: our members are our owners—a feature that is unassailable in our eyes as it directly contributes to our innovation, stability and growth.

We believe that by continuing to be provincially regulated we will see much more growth—and impact. We have evolved into Canada’s largest community credit union by remaining loyal to our co-operative values and by meeting members’ needs. We are confident that by following that path, we will continue to grow naturally and sustainably. There is much more we can do in British Columbia.

Furthermore, by remaining a provincially regulated credit union, we believe we can retain our independence, leading to greater innovation for members and more flexibility in responding to their needs.

Vancity is focused on advancing values-based banking, a progressive model of banking which responds directly to the needs of community, which uses our balance sheet to create positive social, economic and environmental impact for people, and which is inclusive, accountable and transparent.

And we know this approach to redefining the role of a banking institution is intriguing others, here and afar:

  • We've welcomed almost 70,000 new members to Vancity over the past three years, a clear sign that we have created something that others want to be part of. What’s more, most of those new members are between the ages of 20 and 35. That resonance with younger people is validation that our model has a strong future.
  • We were ranked number one in Canada by Corporate Knights’ 2013 Best Corporate Citizens and recognized by Maclean’s Magazine as one of Canada’s top 50 socially responsible companies. We could not have received these accolades without the daily contributions of our 2,500 employees who are committed to our values-based vision.
  • We were the first Canadian member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, an independent network of the world’s most sustainable banking organizations and we play a leadership role in advancing the network’s goal of creating a positive, viable alternative in the financial system.
  • Even the Vatican is interested in our progressive approach. CEO Tamara Vrooman has been invited to Rome this summer as part of a group of 30 global leaders to advise Pope Francis on how to develop a more inclusive economy that addresses poverty and inequality.

And while we have called British Columbia home since we were established in 1946, we are still able to work sea-to-sea-to sea, making impact nationally—whether through cooperative partnerships or through our nationally chartered bank, Citizens Bank of Canada, which allows us to serve and follow our members across all borders. In fact, Citizens Bank allows us to operate nationally and realize many of the benefits and opportunities that federally regulated financial institutions enjoy.

All of this is to say our distinct form of values-based banking resonates with people and we’re intent on growing this successful model in BC. By mobilizing our network of connections and partnerships to deliver solutions that meet the needs of the real economy, Vancity has the opportunity to accelerate impact and enable positive social change for British Columbians across the province.

We will advocate to ensure a provincial regulatory environment that supports this view, our members and our employees who are crucial to our transformation journey, and that safeguards the values of the co-operative financial sector.

We believe we can make an even greater impact here on Canada’s West Coast. So that’s where you’ll find us, with our more than 500,000 members today, and many more in the future who are inspired to join together with us.

Virginia Weiler
Chair, Board of Directors

Tamara Vrooman
President and CEO

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For more information:

Lorraine Wilson | Vancity

T: 778-837-0394