New banking options a "game changer" for small and medium sized businesses
HAMILTON, ON, March 1, 2012 /CNW/ - FirstOntario Credit Union, one of Canada's leading member-owned financial cooperatives, is announcing the launch of an industry-first $25 flat fee account for small business. The new account - with features such as no minimum monthly balance, convenient online and mobile banking, and free unlimited transactions - is designed to support small businesses where big banks have fallen short.
"The big banks just don't get it. Canadians demand flat-fee options from virtually every service industry, yet the banks consistently fail to show leadership in this area," said Dave Schurman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, FirstOntario Credit Union. "At FirstOntario, we are hoping to move the financial services industry forward with modern solutions that are of more value for small businesses to manage cash flow and thrive."
Credit Unions in Canada rank first in customer service for micro and small businesses, according to a recent study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Yet industry figures show that only a small percentage of Ontario small business owners deal with a community-based credit union.
"We are introducing our new, flat-fee account as a clear signal to small businesses that there are modern solutions available to suit their unique banking needs," said Schurman. "Credit unions offer local expertise, a personal and friendly approach to customer service, and innovative banking options often unavailable at Canada's large banks."
According to the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, small and medium sized enterprises employ more than $2.8 million Ontarians across the province, or half of all Ontarians working for businesses.
In addition to business banking services, FirstOntario offers a full range of personal financial services including the Be FREE Chequing Plan with no minimum balance required and unlimited deposits, withdrawals and bill payments. Customers can now easily manage all of their banking needs through a supportive, community-focused financial institution. These rates are made possible by the FirstOntario Credit Union model, where profits are channeled back into the credit union to pass on lower rates and reduced service fees to Members.
Canada has the world's highest per capita membership in the credit union movement, with more than 10 million Canadians - roughly one-third of the Canadian population - presently being served by a credit union or caisse populaire. Credit unions provide the same products and services expected from a financial institution but with a personal, friendly touch and a commitment to invest back in the communities in which they operate. Credit unions differ from banks and other financial institutions in that the members who have accounts in the credit union are owners of the credit union and thus have a voice.
About FirstOntario Credit Union
In business since 1939, FirstOntario Credit Union has more than $2.9 billion in funds under management, serves over 85,000 Members and offers a full suite of banking products including daily banking, mortgages, lines of credit, loans and investments. FirstOntario operates 21 full-service branches and two satellite branches serving 13 communities across the Hamilton, Halton, Niagara, Haldimand/Norfolk and Oxford regions and Membership at FirstOntario is open to anyone. FirstOntario is a proud advocate of the communities we serve and supports many important community organizations. FirstOntario is a founding sponsor for Hive Hamilton, and supports Co-operative Young Leaders (CYL) and youth at risk through Soupfest. FirstOntario also offers a scholastic bursary program and a microlending program in the Hamilton and Niagara regions.
For more information and a full list of business banking services, please visit: www.FirstOntarioCU.com
For further information:
For additional information or to schedule an interview, please contact: