Canada’s credit unions give 4.5% of profits back

Credit unions across Canada have given almost $50m back to the communities they serve. During 2013, a collective contribution of $49.3m was given through direct donations, financial services,...

Credit unions across Canada have given almost $50m back to the communities they serve.

During 2013, a collective contribution of $49.3m was given through direct donations, financial services, sponsorships, scholarships and bursaries.

An increase from $35.6m on the previous year (38%), the donations makes up 4.5% of the pre-tax income of the sector.

According to the annual Credit Union Community Involvement Survey, published by the Credit Union Central of Canada, more than $38m of this amount was spent through donations and sponsorships. $1.6m was given to charitable foundations; $2.6m as donations in kind; $1.6m in scholarships and bursaries; and $5.5m in financial services to community organisations.

“Investing in the communities we serve through social responsibility initiatives is part of our DNA, and has long been at the core of the Canadian credit union system,” said Martha Durdin, president and CEO of Credit Union Central.

Where are credit unions investing?

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Figures show percentage of respondents to each answer.

In addition to donations, many of Canada’s credit unions consider volunteering an integral part of social responsibility. In 2013, 62% of survey respondents stated that their employees participated in community activities as part of their paid work; and 76% said that employees participated in community activities and/or organizations representing the credit union during unpaid time off.

“Canada’s 27,850 credit union employees bring significant value to local organizations – often serving on boards or committees and helping to provide financial and management expertise for everything ranging from sports leagues and seniors’ clubs to local hospitals and charitable foundations,” added Ms Durdin.

In terms of supporting its communities economic needs, the survey identified that waived or reduced service charges were the most popular form of benefits offered. In 2013, this service was offered by 160 credit unions to 36,768 community organisations, which accounted for $5.1m of giving.

In addition, another $400,000 was provided through other savings such as free cheques, increased interest on deposits, and preferred borrowing rates. This led to the total support of 41,583 community organisations with some form of discount services.

View the full results of the survey online.

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