Innovation Credit Union hoping to go national

By Angela Brown
April 5, 2017 - 1:58pm Updated: April 6, 2017 - 10:42am

Innovation Credit Union celebrated its 10th anniversary at its annual general meeting with big news that it hopes to go national.

CEO Daniel Johnson made a presentation to members and staff at the Dekker Centre in North Battleford Wednesday night, saying it's a good opportunity for the credit union to grow now. 

 Johnson said this fall, members will have a chance to vote on the board's proposal to change to become a federally regulated credit union. The vote will likely take place in November over a one-week period.

The company needs over 75 per cent of ballots cast to vote in favour of the change. Johnson estimates about 45,000 members, individuals age 16 and over, are eligible to vote. Members are mainly located on the West side of Saskatchewan.  

"We know in the past we don't get a lot of voters come out, so we are working hard to have great conversations and get members to come out and vote," Johnson said. "We have to make sure our members are informed and that they support the decision.

 "We started this analysis about three years ago. What we were finding was the ability to fullfil our long-term business plan was starting to be challenged because of our regional-ness."

Last year, managment presented some proposals to the board for long-term plans, and after much discussion, organization members agreed to make a federal move.

The company looked at some other credit unions that also went national and experienced success. 

Johnson said the change means the credit union would become federally-regulated.

"The big benefit is we will have the ultimate flexibility to grow our business," Johnson said. He said currently, the company is in a region where the "population profile is pretty flat" but if the company can progress to find new members throughout Canada and expand beyond its region "it gives us more success to grow as an organization."

Johnson said operations can change by adopting digital technology instead of establishing new outlets and constructing more buildings across the county.

He added the company has already invested in the technology to pursue its plans for expansion. 

Looking at the past year for the business, board president Bruce Sack describes it as "fantastic."

The credit union has increased its membership numbers by over 3,000 in the past year, bringing the count up to about 50,000 members in the organization in total.

"A lot of those members were younger membership which was great," Sack added. "We've always had ups and downs, but last year there was an increase in membership, and the year before was an increase in membership, so we have kind of reversed that trend. It still has to grow more."

On the company's plans to become a federal operation, Sack said it will help the company generate more revenue so it can undertake more innnovative projects.

He said amid the changes the credit union will still focus on local members' concerns and the local community.

"Our intention is to keep the credit union local," Sack added. "That is why the headquarters will be here in Saskatchewan, generating revenue here, bringing revenue into the province of Saskatchewan, as opposed to it leaving."

The company will also still be able to support local charities.


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