Canadian credit union Coast Capital Savings has been given the approval to become a federally regulated financial institution.
The largest credit union in Canada by membership, it will be first credit union from British Columbia to operate as a federal credit union, and only the second in Canada.
The credit union has 52 branches serving 555,000 members in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and Okanagan regions. The expansion means it can now serve members across the country.
“This is an important milestone in our work towards expanding nationally,” said CEO and president Calvin MacInnis. “For nearly 80 years, British Columbians have turned to Coast Capital to help them manage their money and improve their financial wellbeing. We believe federal credit unions represent an important, new national choice for consumers.”
The federal credit union legislative framework provides an option for credit unions that want to grow regionally or nationally by converting to a federal charter. The first credit union to go national was the Caisse populaire acadienne ltée. With its 155,000 members, it became the first federal credit union in Canada in July 2016. It now trades as UNI Coopération financière/UNI Financial Cooperation.
Coast Capital was a strong advocate of federal legislation to enable credit unions to expand beyond their provincial boundaries. Its members approved the plans for national expansion in the fall of 2016. Around 79.2% of the nearly 80,000 Coast Capital members who submitted a ballot voted in favour of Coast Capital becoming a federal credit union.
The BC Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM) conducted a review of the proposals and granted its approval to proceed in August 2017.
“We are grateful to our members who have supported us throughout this journey and to the federal government for its leadership in enabling the creation of federal credit unions as a new national alternative for consumers,” said Coast Capital chair Bill Cooke.