Different for a purpose: Canada's credit unions contribute more than five per cent of pre-tax income to communities, and return $162 million in profits to members

TORONTO, Oct. 15, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Data released today shows that Canada's credit unions contributed nearly $50 million in direct philanthropic giving last year. This figure - which equals 5.1 per cent of the Canadian credit union system's pre-tax income for 2014 - includes:

  • More than $38.4 million through donations and sponsorships;
  • Almost $5.6 million in financial services to community organizations.
  • $2.2 million in in-kind donations;
  • $2 million to credit union charitable foundations; and
  • $1.8 million in scholarships and bursaries.

Overall, credit unions contributed more than $293 million to Canadian communities since 2008.
In addition, credit unions kept money in the pockets of Canadians by returning $162 million in profits to members in 2014.
Today, Credit Union Central of Canada released the 2015 Community and Economic Impact Report which in addition to the overview of philanthropic giving mentioned above, also highlights a number of the ways credit unions helped local communities and contributed to the Canadian economy last year. Notably, credit unions' low profit model and commitment to promoting financial well-being helped Canadians hold on to more of their money by:

  • Providing access to 2.5 million free chequing accounts;
  • Saving members more than $12 million in fees through a network of 4,100 surcharge-free ATMs; and
  • Returning an average of $29 in cash or shares to each credit union member.

The Report is being released on International Credit Union Day, which acknowledges the importance of credit unions and their commitment to communities locally, nationally and internationally. It has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948.
To access the 2015 Community and Economic Impact Report, click here or visit www.cucentral.com.

Quotes - Martha Durdin, President and CEO, Credit Union Central of Canada.

"For Canada's credit unions, it's not just about providing the best financial products and services – although that's a key differentiator of credit union service – it's also about bringing fresh approaches to social responsibility that are as individual and exceptional as the communities themselves. The credit union difference is really about considering the interest and welfare of Canadian communities."

"Together, credit unions contribute to the Canadian economy, making billions available that can be invested in jobs and growth. And as co-operatives, credit unions innovate in products and approaches that can improve the quality of life of their members and the communities in which they live and operate."

About Credit Union Central of Canada (CUCC)

Credit Union Central of Canada is the national trade association for the Canadian credit union system. Canada's credit union system is a vital competitor in the financial services industry. CUCC represents five provincial/regional Centrals and one Federation representing 303 credit unions with more than $177.7 billion in assets and serving over 5.35 million members, outside of Quebec. For more information about Canada's credit union system visit www.cucentral.ca.

For the 11th consecutive year, Canadians ranked credit unions first overall in Customer Service Excellence, among all financial institutions, surpassing all Canadian banks in Ipsos 2015 Best Banking Awards. In total, Canadian credit unions were awarded nine awards in the following categories: First for Customer Service Excellence (11th consecutive year); First for Branch Service Excellence (11th consecutive year); First for Values My Business (eighth consecutive year); Winner (tied) for Products & Services Excellence; Winner (tied) for Financial Planning and Advice (eighth consecutive year); Winner (tied) for ATM Banking Excellence; Winner (tied) for Online Banking Excellence; Winner (tied) for Live Agent Telephone Banking Excellence (third consecutive year); and Winner (tied) for Automated Telephone Banking Excellence; (third consecutive year).

About the Community Involvement Survey (data used for Report)

In 2001, Credit Union Central of Canada and Ipsos Reid conducted the first system-wide Community Involvement Study of Canadian credit unions. The survey is now conducted by Credit Union Central of Manitoba and continues to be voluntary. It is conducted each year, from April through August, and reports on credit union involvement in the previous fiscal year. The community involvement study conducted in 2015 received 254 responses from 312 invited credit unions. The results of this survey have always been shared with members as well as made public to highlight the role that credit unions play in developing the communities that they serve.

About International Credit Union Day

International Credit Union Day, co-ordinated by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948. It was established to acknowledge the credit union model, history and commitment to communities locally, nationally and internationally. To learn more, click here.

CONTACT: Janet Gibson Eichner Senior Manager, National Media Relations and Communications (416) 232-3458 gibson-eichnerj@cucentral.com

Source: Credit Union Central ofCanada