New research points to untapped opportunities for retail investors and credit unions

SASKATOON, May 3, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Credit unions are well positioned to provide Canadians with retail investment and savings products that generate positive social and environmental impact, according to new research released today at Canadian Credit Union Association's (CCUA) annual National Conference for Canada's Credit Unions.

Currently available mostly to institutional and accredited investors, impact investing opportunities offered at the retail level can help credit unions retain and attract a new generation of members that have a strong desire to align their values with their investments.
The new Retail Impact Investing Guidebook, launched today and prepared for the CCUA by Purpose Capital, a Toronto-based impact investment research and advisory firm, provides credit unions with actionable strategies and resources for developing retail impact investing products and deploying them to their members.

To download the Executive Summary and Guidebook, visit or click here. For more general information about the Guidebook visit, or click here.

Credit unions are currently among the leaders in the broader impact investing space. They hold nearly 17 per cent of the total Canadian impact investing assets, which includes microloans made to underserved individuals and entrepreneurs. Credit unions first pioneered socially responsible investing in Canada in the 1980s by creating the Ethical Funds family of funds.

"Despite evidence of growing market interest – led by women and millennials – the opportunities for people to invest to generate a return, while also generating positive impact, are currently limited," explains Martha Durdin, CCUA's president and CEO. "This new Guidebook identifies that marketplace gap, and shows ways that credit unions can innovate and provide Canadians with new investment products."

"Bringing impact investment to the retail level can unlock new sources of capital for both environmental and social organizations, and initiatives," adds Karim Harji, Purpose Capital's co-founder and Director of Research and Impact. "For credit unions, it's an opportunity to deepen mission alignment, while offering members new investment options."

The Guidebook profiles six retail products in Canada and the United States and draws lessons from the case studies to shape a Product Development Roadmap. One product that is profiled in the research is the Oikocredit Global Impact Guaranteed Investment Certificate, which allows members of Mennonite Savings and Credit Union to earn a guaranteed return on their insured deposit, while also supporting global development finance initiatives.

Building on this research, CCUA will work to assess how impact investing can be expanded within the credit union sector in Canada.
The Guidebook was a partnership of CCUA, its member credit unions, Purpose Capital and Employment and Social Development Canada.

About Canadian Credit Union Association

Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA) 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. CCUA represents 315 credit unions and caisses populaires (outside of Quebec) with more than $188.3 billion in assets and serving over 5.57 million members. For more information about Canada's credit unions visit

About Purpose Capital

Purpose Capital is an impact investment advisory firm that mobilizes all forms of capital — financial, physical, human and social — to accelerate social progress. We work with a range of investors and intermediaries — foundations, high net worth investors, family offices, financial institutions, governments, and social finance intermediaries and impact funds — to design, implement, and evaluate strategies to invest for impact. We draw on significant in-house research and expertise, and regularly contribute to market building through knowledge products and publications. For more information, visit

CONTACT: CCUA media contact: Janet Gibson Eichner Senior Manager, National Media & Communications Tel: (416) 232-3458 Purpose Capital media contact: Karim Harji Director of Research and Impact (647) 302-4752

Source:Canadian Credit Union Association