Our core purpose is successful credit unions

Board of Director’s Report

Rick Hoevenaars

The last year has been one of transition and development for Central 1 and the Board of Directors.

The 2015 – 2017 Strategic Plan approved by the Board sets out a committed effort to change the culture and improve the performance of Central 1 and increase its focus on member service.  The plan puts our members’ needs first, and increased responsiveness to our members’ concerns and issues is reinforced throughout the plan. Central 1 will continue to have the capacity to service the system and provide members with the products and services that they need to succeed in a competitive and challenging environment.

The Board has been engaged in oversight of Central 1’s involvement in the CEO Payments Strategy, and the future state of the credit union support system as its working groups conduct detailed analysis of the current situation and consider the best way forward.

Earlier this year, Central 1 began a process of deeper engagement about what the desired future of the second tier of the Canadian credit union system should look like. The pressures on the credit union business model have intensified in recent years.  There is a developing consensus that we need to consider a different approach if we are going to maintain and enhance our contributions to Canadians’ financial well-being. We look forward to the discussion ahead.

We are determined to nurture strong, trusting, mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with our members, and we will do that by delivering the right solutions at the right time.  Solutions that are mutually beneficial to both our members, and Central 1.

As the largest shareholder of Credit Union Central of Canada, Central 1 was actively involved in the creation of the Canadian Credit Union Association, which has a mandate to center on government relations, public advocacy and education. We see this as an important step toward developing a national entity that can meet the expanding needs of credit unions.

During 2015, we implemented governance changes that were approved by members late in 2014, including a new director nomination and election process. Directors are recruited and evaluated based on a matrix of skills and experience required for the Board as a whole. The Board’s composition has been adjusted to achieve the necessary mix of skills, as required.

In November the Board appointed two new directors to bring critical skills to the Central 1’s governance: Dr. Blaize Horner Reich and Penny-Lynn McPherson. Their terms extend until Central 1’s 2018 annual general meeting. Their financial acumen and business leadership experience and their familiarity with the credit union system and technology innovation are valuable as Central 1 continues to grow and adapt to the needs of our members and their communities.

With the introduction of the Central 1 Advisory Council following the 2015 Annual General Meeting, the Council has focused on its new mandate of supporting Central 1 Trade Services and assisting Central 1 in understanding the increasingly complex economic and competitive environment facing credit unions.  Their input has provided valuable feedback on several Central 1 initiatives to assist credit unions – account opening documentation, anti-money laundering services, internal audit services and an updated Master Services Agreement, for example.  They have worked with C1 to improve the Peer Group and Contact meeting agendas to add more value. The Board sees the council as a key element of Central 1’s focus on providing exceptional member service.

Finally, the Board would like to commend Don Wright and the Central 1 staff on a successful year in 2015.  We know it’s been challenging, and your efforts are greatly appreciated.  We’d also like to thank two directors whose terms have expired for their many years of service and the important roles they played: Doug Lang of Peer Group 4 and Dave Sitaram of Peer Group 7.  Your contributions to Central 1 and the credit union system have truly made a difference.

President & CEO Message

Don Wright

 

Our core purpose is successful credit unions. Throughout 2015, Central 1 worked to collaborate with our members to understand their unique needs and deliver innovative solutions. Our members saw the benefits of significant profits, new products and services, and our focus on ensuring value. We experienced another good financial year despite tough market conditions and low interest rates.

 

In 2014, we built an ambitious strategic plan aimed at ensuring that value to our member credit unions was our priority. In 2015, we refined our strategic plan while continuing to build on our member-centric culture through listening to our members on how we can better support our system. While our 2015 member satisfaction and value results were below our targets, our members are telling us that Central 1 is taking the right steps towards true member-centricity. As one member responded, “I think Central 1 has improved service by engaging the customer in a new way bringing forward more solutions and options. Continue the initiatives that are supporting these changes.”

Helping lead us in that journey are a number of new executives who joined our leadership team in 2015: Brent Clode as Chief Investment Officer; Marilyn Mauritz as Senior Vice President, Legal and General Counsel, and Kam Raman, who was promoted in 2016 to Senior Vice President of Member Relations and Trade Services.

Despite difficult market conditions, at the end of 2015, Central 1’s total assets were $14.9 billion, up from $13.1 billion the year before. We were able to keep expenses level with 2014 at $129.5 million, and had a better than expected return on average equity of 5.5 percent. Net financial income was $50.1 million, compared to 72.4 million in 2014, while other income saw a significant lift to $140.7 million, compared to $119.7 million the previous year.

Income increases reflected the growth in many of Central 1’s innovative product and service offerings, as well as increased income from affiliates. This revenue growth was mainly driven by increased activities in electronic payments processing and MemberDirect® online services in 2015 within Digital & Payments Services, with profit driven by Treasury. MemberDirect is now the best performing banking platform in North America; twice as fast as the fastest Canadian bank.

Our members’ success is our success.  Our members continue to increase their contribution to personal and community prosperity.  Over the past year our credit unions in British Columbia and Ontario have grown their membership by more than 66,000 (an increase of two per cent), and their assets by $8.7 billion (an increase of nine per cent).

2016 will continue to be a year of growth and evolution. Many of you will have read the discussion paper on the future state of the credit union system’s second tier. Some of you will have already participated in roundtable groups. We have an opportunity to begin defining a future state for the second tier designed to meet the needs of our organizations, and ultimately our members, going forward. This begins with a coordinated, critical, thoughtful, and collective system discussion.

We look forward to making continued progress towards delighting our members in 2016, and Central 1 welcomes feedback and input from members at any time and about any topic. Meanwhile, we will continue to develop our organization’s strengths, and by extension our system’s strength, and focus on building value to our members.

2015 Financial Targets Achieved

In addition to meeting our financial targets in 2015, Central 1 continues to work to meet our strategic priority to be a liquid, well-capitalized, financial institution with a strong credit rating that generates a return for the benefit of members. Important components of meeting our targets are financial income and net operating income and results in 2015 exceeded targets in both areas.

Our members get value through innovative solutions

Deposit Anywhere™ makes it easy to tap, snap and send:

Popularity of INTERAC e-Transfers® makes for a win-win:

Together, we advocate for a stronger credit union system

Credit unions give back through partnerships with Central 1

Sharing the local community impact of credit unions