Letters from the CEO and Chair

Mark Blucher / CEO

2018 was a year of progress for Central 1. Early in the year, we released our new strategic plan, A Bold Way Forward, with specific focus on three pillars: client centricity, operational excellence and system leadership.

We now have in place a dynamic set of leaders to execute on that strategy – including three new executives who joined in the summer and fall – who led us through a year of transition while delivering on our plan. This enhanced leadership team brings fresh perspectives and approaches to the way Central 1 is providing value to our members and clients.

As part of our efforts in 2018, we established a new Client Development group, whose sole focus is to give individual attention to our clients in understanding what they need to be successful. We have spent a great deal of time speaking with our members, our clients, our employees and our partners to better understand how we can deliver on our commitments to providing key support and developing innovative products and programs to keep our members competitive.

The digital banking team were steadfast in their goals to accelerate development and launch our Forge Digital Banking Platform, or Forge, which is focused on delivering a competitive edge for clients through client-centered design, market-leading speed and innovation, and proactive stakeholder engagement and partnerships.

This year’s launch of Aviso Wealth – the culmination of months of collaboration between all of Canada’s five provincial credit union centrals and Desjardins to merge the businesses of their subsidiaries – established a strong, values-based wealth management alternative for Canadians.

We’re also engaging our clients and collaborating with other centrals as we navigate Payments Canada’s initiative to modernize payments. As a primary payments and settlement provider in Canada, this is a strategic focus for us at Central 1 and will continue through the next few years.

As we refined our strategic and business plan later in the year, we set aspirations through 2023. We aspire to enable member excellence, leadership and impact through a healthy, high-performing Central and to do that we have specific targets for each line of business and the corporate functions that support them.

Another key focus for us is organizational health – fundamental to a strong culture and organizational success – and the entire senior leadership are working hard to shift the culture and build exceptional leaders to ensure a high-performing organization on our members’ and clients’ behalf.

We’re investing in strategic initiatives or partnerships to support credit unions as they meet the expanding expectations of Canadians for financial services and related solutions. This year we made progress towards our goals, while clarifying our aspirations for the future. We rounded out our leadership team with enhanced expertise and delivered a strategic plan to enable a transformed ecosystem for the future of banking to our members and clients.

As we continue on this journey, there is still work ahead of us. There will always be work to do as we continually evaluate and refocus to ensure we meet future challenges and the needs of our clients, starting with our eight core initiatives for 2019.

On behalf of the entire team at Central 1, we look forward to continuing to support you as members and clients in 2019.


Mark Blucher
President & CEO
Central 1

We aspire to enable member excellence, leadership and impact through a healthy, high-performing Central.

Bill Kiss / Chair

As we boldly move forward to meet the disruption and challenges ahead of us in the financial industry, at Central 1, we’re focused on what benefits the system as a whole to ensure the long-term viability of Canadian credit unions.

In 2018, Central 1’s Board and leadership identified our aspiration through 2023 to enable credit union excellence, leadership and impact through a healthy, high-performing central. To support our success as an organization, we’re increasing our focus on organizational health to foster innovation, accountability and a mindset for agility in all areas of our business.

We are here to serve our members – to build relationships, find collaborative solutions, and deliver products that give clients a competitive edge – yet we understand the need to evolve as we move forward. We’re cultivating a strong and flexible organization that will engage our members and clients and learn from each obstacle and opportunity as the future unfolds.

In support of our system leadership role, we fully transitioned the dues-funded government relations and provincial marketing programs to Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA) to align key service functions. We feel strongly that this collaborative transition will enhance CCUA’s effort towards strengthening the Canadian credit union system.

2018 also saw the beginning of our current Board governance review, ahead of schedule, a process involving work with our regulator and risk management experts. We’re seeking ways to enhance our capability to have the Board skills required to lead the organization through our transformative journey, while finding collaborative and meaningful ways to ensure all voices of the membership are heard.

Change in our industry is coming ever more quickly. I thank my fellow directors for their investment of time and counsel for the future of our credit union system in Canada. On behalf of the Board, I’d like to commend Mark Blucher, the leadership team and all Central 1 employees for their successes during the past year. Through determined commitment to our strategic pillars – client centricity, operational excellence and system leadership – we’re ready to meet the challenges ahead, together, with open curiosity and bold courage to deliver on our goals and achieve our aspirations.


Bill Kiss
Chair of the Board
Central 1 Credit Union

Through commitment to our strategic pillars – client centricity, operational excellence and system leadership – we’re ready to meet the challenges ahead, together.

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