Credit Unions Strongly Support Their Local Communities

Celebrating International Credit Union Day on October 21

TORONTO, Oct. 21 /CNW/ - Canadian credit unions contributed nearly $37.5 million to local community projects last year and supported their communities with money, services and time, a new survey shows.

The annual survey, done for Credit Union Central of Canada (Canadian Central), the national trade association for credit unions, reflects the system's deep commitment to co-operative principles and values and proud heritage of building stronger communities.

This proud credit union heritage will be celebrated on October 21 as credit unions across Canada and around the world observe International Credit Union Day under the theme "Local. Trusted. Serving You. Experience the Credit Union Difference." Canadian celebrations are part of national Co-op Week, celebrated October 17 to 23.

The survey shows that as member-owned financial co-operatives with a strong local focus, credit unions across Canada have maintained a leadership role in the area of community involvement.

The $37.5 million in support of communities includes almost $24.9 million in donations and sponsorships for arts and culture, sport activities, educational programs and facilities, economic development, healthcare, environmental causes and disaster relief, social services, and other community events and initiatives. The majority of donations were made in the local communities where credit unions operate, but they also supported international development.

The figure includes nearly $1.3 million in scholarships and bursaries, and donations of more than $4.5 million to charitable foundations. Credit unions also contributed more than $3.4 million in financial services to community organizations as well as almost $3.4 million in donations-in-kind.

"Community involvement and support are at the core of the credit union difference," said David Phillips, president and chief executive officer of Credit Union Central of Canada. "Credit unions have a long history of supporting communities and the survey results show that this commitment remains strong, even during tough economic times."

In addition to the monetary support, credit union employees support their local communities through unpaid volunteerism, with 75 per cent of survey respondents saying that their employees volunteered during their unpaid time off in 2009. More than half of the credit unions surveyed also said their employees participated in community activities as part of their paid work. More than 200,000 hours were volunteered on paid time.

The 2009 survey gathered responses from 269 of the 419 credit unions affiliated with Canadian Central in 2009, representing 93 per cent of the total system assets. Results of the survey are summarized in the 2010 Social Responsibility and Canada's Credit Unions report. Click here to view this report.

International Credit Union Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948. Canadian credit unions are affiliated with a respected, worldwide co-operative movement. There are 186 million credit union members and 54,000 credit unions in 97 countries around the world.

Credit Union Central of Canada (Canadian Central) is the national trade association for credit unions. There are 406 credit unions affiliated with Canadian Central, with more than five million members and assets of over $124 billion. Learn more about Canadian Central at www.cucentral.ca.

For further information:

Veronica Feldcamp
Director, Trade Association Services
Tel: (416) 232-3417
Cell: (416) 434-8777