Tag Archives: Credit Unions

Unclaimed Credit Union accounts

Unclaimed Credit Union Accounts in Ontario

Inaction is a disadvantage for Credit Unions in Ontario

There’s so much to love about Credit Unions but when it comes to providing Credit Unions an equal playing field in Ontario, I can’t help but feel that the Ministry of Finance is putting them at a disadvantage by their inaction. The inaction I’m referring to relates to their apparent disregard for Unclaimed or Dormant credit union accounts.  This inaction & disregard is not helpful to Credit Unions and it’s certainly not helpful to the client/members those Credit Unions serve.

Unclaimed Credit Union accounts can be hard to find

Unlike Unclaimed accounts held by federally regulated banks, Unclaimed Credit Union accounts in Ontario are hard to find unless you know the exact Credit Union you or a loved one dealt with.  Federally regulated banks are required to remit unclaimed accounts that have not been active for 10+ years to the Bank of Canada where a searchable online database is available; that database currently includes $532 Million of such accounts. What would be the total value of Unclaimed Credit Union accounts in Ontario ? I’m pretty sure that no one inside the Ministry of Finance or outside has any clue. And that’s the problem.

The Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 1994 (20 years later)

One might assume that a similar system would be in place for unclaimed credit union accounts held in Ontario as there is for accounts held by federally regulated banks in Ontario. It’s 2014 after all and the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 1994 set out the guidelines for Unclaimed or dormant accounts in that legislation. But…

Alas…that’s not the case. While the Ministry of Finance expects that Credit Unions are following the rules around notifications to dormant or unclaimed account holders, they have not yet gone as far as having those Credit Unions remit those accounts to the Ministry as intended.

Why?

Why has it taken 20 years to direct Ontario Credit Unions to where they need to send all of those unclaimed credit union accounts that have been forgotten?

I’ve asked the Ministry of Finance again recently this question. After much delay the Ministry responded but failed to answer that very question.

Here’s their reply

  • The government recognizes the importance of ensuring that individuals who hold dormant deposit accounts at credit unions are aware of the status of their accounts and have access to the funds held in those accounts.
  • The Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 1994 requires that credit unions provide notices to depositors whose accounts are dormant at regular intervals. For example, depositors must be notified 2 years and 5 years after a transaction has last taken place in the account or since the depositor last requested or acknowledged an account statement.
  • We understand that credit unions have systems in place to ensure unclaimed deposits are properly monitored and that depositors are informed.  If an account is dormant for more than 10 years, credit unions are required to remit the amount to the Minister of Finance when directed to do so.
  • The Minister of Finance has not yet specified a date when the funds should be remitted to the government

We hope you will find the information provided useful.

Sadly, No. The information provided by the Ministry of Finance recently is not very helpful; not very helpful at all. And, most certainly, the inaction on the part of the Ministry of Finance with regards to Unclaimed Credit Union accounts is generally not helpful to Ontario Credit Unions or their members.

Let’s be clear: No one loses their hard earned/tax paid financial assets on purpose.

Ontario credit union members deserve to have one place to search & find their Unclaimed Credit Union accounts. Let’s get it done Ontario.

International Credit Union Day

Happy International Credit Union Day !

Credit Unions are an important feature of Canadian Life

Co-operative financial institutions are owned & democratically controlled by their members & Canada has a long history of having a strong co-operative financial services sector with Credit Unions playing a significant role. Indeed, Canada has the world’s highest per capita membership in the credit union movement, with over 10 million members, or about one-third of the Canadian population belonging to one. That makes them 100% Canadian owned. In over 380 Canadian communities, they are the only financial institution, offering essential financial services for those local economies. However, all Canadian Credit Unions pride themselves on having a local focus:

  •  More than 736 credit unions (and caisses populaires) in more than 3,100 locations
  •  Over 10.2 million members
  •  $303 billion in combined assets
  •  More than 27,000 employees

The Canadian credit union system contributed more than $49.3 Million through direct donations, financial services, sponsorships, scholarships and bursaries in 2013 (up from $35.6 Million the year prior)

The 2014 Ipsos® Best Banking Awards for the 10th consecutive year has reported that Canadians have ranked credit unions first among all Canadian financial institutions for:

  • Overall Customer Service Excellence
  • Branch Service Excellence
  • “Value my Business”

Credit unions tied for first among all financial institutions for :

  • Financial Planning & Advice
  • Automated Telephone Banking Excellence and
  • Live Agent Telephone Banking Excellence

Read more about the Ipsos® Best Banking Awards here 

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business,  Credit Unions also outperform all banks in serving small and medium-sized enterprises. Credit Unions have been ranked #1 by CFIB members in 4 of the last 5 of their triennial surveys (2000,2003,2009 & 2012) . Read more here 

Credit unions also boast a very rich history of innovation.

Thank a Credit Union for many of these “Firsts” that for the most part, we all now take for granted:

  •  First financial institutions to lend to women in their own names (in the 1960s)
  •  First to offer daily interest savings
  •  First full-service ATMs
  •  First fully functional online banking
  •  First loans based on borrower character
  •  First payroll deduction service for deposits and loan payments
  •  First open mortgages
  •  First home equity lines of credit
  •  First debit card service.
  •  First registered education plans.
  •  First branchless bank (Citizens Bank)
  •  First cheque imaging service

So Happy International Credit Union Day ! A day that internationally, is a day to recognize the positive impact that Credit Unions make in their communities around the world. ICU Day. Have a good one.

Credit Unions across Canada matter. You can read more of the facts behind recent changes announced in the 2013 Federal Budget here 

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Unclaimed Credit Union Balances

Finding Unclaimed Credit Union Balances – no easy task

We’ve made no secret of the fact that we love Credit Unions but…

Why is finding an unclaimed Credit Union balance in Canada so …complicated to say the least ?

There`s over $532 million in unclaimed bank accounts held by the Bank of Canada. This balance is made up of Canadian dollar accounts held originally by a federally regulated bank where the account was inactive for a period of 10 or more years. The Bank of Canada makes available a searchable database of unclaimed bank accounts which anyone can search here 

Although we remain disappointed about the fact that the Bank of Canada`s searchable database does not include inactive accounts held in a foreign currency (since they are very familiar with exchange rates), the process and the rules seem simple enough.

If only Canada had such clarity in the case of unclaimed accounts held by Credit Unions or Financial Cooperatives !

Alas, Credit Unions and Financial Cooperatives are provincially regulated and unfortunately, each Province has their own rules (or doesn’t). More unfortunately, only 3 provinces currently make available a searchable database available to the public (Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia)

Here`s a short rundown on what we know about Unclaimed Balances held by Credit Unions in some (apologies-not all) Provinces across the Country:

Alberta: After 10 years of inactivity, unclaimed account balances are transferred to the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (CUDGC) which holds the money for another 20 years before it is considered revenue for Alberta. As of 2013, the CUDGC held some $1.36 Million in unclaimed accounts.

British Columbia: After 10 years of inactivity, unclaimed account balances over $100 are transferred to the BC Unclaimed Property Society which holds the account indefinitely. A searchable database is available here 

Nova Scotia: After 7 years of inactivity, unclaimed accounts are transferred to the Nova Scotia Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC).  The CUDIC holds the balance in perpetuity. As of 2013, the Nova Scotia Credit Union reported $577 Thousand in unclaimed accounts. A searchable database is available here 

Quebec: After 3 years of inactivity, unclaimed accounts are transferred to Revenu Quebec where the balances are held for 30 more years for amounts over $500 or 10 years if the amount is less than $500. A searchable database is available here 

Saskatchewan: After 6 years of inactivity, unclaimed accounts worth more than $5,000 are transferred to the provincial Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corp. The balance of unclaimed accounts in 2013 was $244 Thousand. A searchable database is expected to be available soon

Ontario: Section 182 of the Credit Union and Caisses Populaires Act in Ontario notes that accounts that have been inactive for a period of 10 years are to be forwarded to the Ministry of Finance in accordance with the Minister`s directions. Unfortunately, those directions have still not been provided despite the fact that the Act became law in 1994. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario which administers the regulations pertaining to Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires in Ontario, can not provide us with any detail as to why there has been a delay of 20 years by the Ministry of Finance in providing `directions`. Yikes.

That’s more than unfortunate for account holders or heirs in Canada`s most populous Province who should be able search & claim accounts that they are legally entitled to in one central place.

We are left to wonder why Minister of Finance in Ontario seems so indifferent about this matter given the state of finances in Ontario and the fact that this would be a welcome help to families who have for one reason or another lost track of an account

This ‘Mish Mash’ of rules and procedures depending upon your jurisdiction, is a Good Reason to safeguard your financial assets & all of your financial and legal information in a secure and accessible location. We have one for you –  LegacyTracker.

the Millennial Mind

Millennials rising: With the power to be disruptive (in a good way)

This interesting infographic on the (mysterious?) Millennial Mind highlights how Millennials have a devotion to Authenticity, Community and Giving & comes by way of PSCU : The Millennial Mind

PSCU initiated a Make your Money Matter Movement recently to help leverage what they know about the Millennial generation to attract, engage & move millennials to Credit Unions.  Based on what we know about Credit Unions and what we are learning about Millennials, that makes good sense. It seems to be paying off based on the results that PSCU has posted. It’s an interesting and insightful read.

There’s no question: Millennials (born between 1976 & 1994) think differently than older generations and they definitely have the buying power to be disruptive especially with their fresher attitudes towards living life in a friendlier manner and their preference for using technology to manage that life. PSCU summarizes it as “Millennials are drawn to business models in which extending the life and value of good s is a core tenet”

We like the way millennials think .

We can help financial service providers attract millennials with a technology offering to help them manage their busy financial lives going forward.

 

 

 

Customer Advocacy is a Competitive Advantage

Forrester Research is a global research and advisory firm that provides insight and guides clients on business, technology, marketing & strategy decisions in a few different industries including Financial Services, Retail and Healthcare.  They are well considered and well sought after thought leaders. 

Customer Advocacy

For the past 10 years Forrester has been highlighting the importance of Customer Advocacy — as being critical in the eyes of Customers of retail financial services. They define Customer Advocacy as being the perception held by Customers that the firm they do business with does what’s best for Customers & not just what’s right for the firm’s own bottom line. Forrester considers Customer Advocacy as being the key driver of loyalty at retail financial services firms which in turn, yields the most sustainable revenue growth for financial services firms. Last year, in their most recent report Forrester suggested that while Customer Advocacy, has always been a smart strategy it has now become an imperative. Demonstrating Customer Advocacy and showing an obsession while both serving and delighting customers is an unbeatable source of competitive advantage Forrester believes, which can survive technology-fueled disruption and provide disproportionate growth. 

Customer Advocacy when demonstrated, makes clients and account holders feel that their financial services provider truly acts in their best interest and that makes those customers want to invest more, borrow more and buy more from that firm. Free Cappuccino or Free Pens will Not have the same impact.

LegacyTracker is all about showing and providing Client Advocacy – for your Client but also their families.

You can get their report here 

2013: How US Customers Rate Their Financial Services Firms

For 10 years Forrester has shown that customer advocacy — the perception on the part of customers that their firm does what’s best for them, not just the firm’s own bottom line — is the key driver of loyalty at retail financial services firms

2012: How US Customers Rate Their Financial Services Firms

When customers feel that a financial services firm acts in their best interest, they are willing to invest more, borrow more, and buy more products from that firm. We call this corporate trait “customer advocacy” — the perception on the part of customers that a firm does what’s best for them, not just what’s best for the firm’s own bottom line

2011: How Financial Services Firms Win Loyal Customers

Marketing leaders at top-ranked financial services firms have found the secret to loyal customers. Forrester calls it customer advocacy: customers’ perception that a firm does what’s best for them, not just what’s best for the firm’s own bottom line.

2010: How Canadian Customers Rate their Banks

Forrester’s research shows that a key driver of customer retention and deeper customer relationships is a trait we call “customer advocacy,” the perception by customers that a firm does what’s best for them, not just what’s best for its own bottom line. When Canadian customers rate their primary banks on customer advocacy, credit unions come out on top, followed by President’s Choice Financial. Four of the big five banks get below-average scores from their customers. 

 

Co-operative Banking makes sense

Facts, Firsts & Future Prospects for Canadian Credit Unions

In 2013, for the 9th consecutive year, Canadians ranked Credit Unions First in Overall Customer Service Excellence among all financial institutions based on the annual Ipsos Best Banking Awards Survey which is based on various key performance indicators.

That’s a pretty good indicator that Credit Unions are doing Customer Service “Right” And that’s just one reason that I think they have a really large & bright future ahead. There are a lot more. 

This statement has nothing to do with the fact that we think Credit Unions are a perfect partner provider for Legacy Tracker (they are). But rather, the fact that they ARE a perfect prospect for LegacyTracker is because their fundamental approach to how and what they do is similar to our goals for LegacyTracker.  We also wish many more businesses could operate in the same way, but that’s a BIG wish. It’s also a BIG challenge for those where their stock price is always expected to go higher.

However, the fundamental approach that Credit Unions operate under is a quite a bit different than Big Banking. For Credit Unions and other co-operatives, it’s more about …

Profits for a higher purpose and Banking for a higher purpose

Credit Unions and other Co-operative financial institutions are non profits that have a dedication instead to the people and the communities they serve . That dedication, guides and shapes their operations, their business decisions and their governance. That makes for a critical difference. 

The Credit Union Difference makes a Difference in Service

This fundamental difference in the way Credit Unions & Co-operatives operate can be sourced back to the very first Credit Union or Caisse Populaire that was founded in Levis, Quebec in 1900 by Alphonse Desjardins . Mr Desjardins launched a new type of financial entity in response to what he saw as outrageous interest rates being charged to labourers and farmers. A movement towards what was termed co-operative banking where a financial institution was owned & run by members caught on;  particularly by  those who were  being “underserved” by larger financial institutions. Today, approximately 1 out of every 3 Canadians belongs to a Credit Union or Caisse Populaire giving Canada the world’s highest per capita membership in Credit Unions. With over 330 different Credit Union Brands and over 1,700 locations, they are easy to find and easy to join.

Account holders in Credit Unions today, continue to be considered as the shareholders members, or owners  of each Credit Union. As such and in the spirit of any good democracy, each of those owners is provided with 1 Vote (regardless of the size of their wallet) to decide help guide the Credit Union’s direction and to determine who will lead that direction or form the Board of Directors. Those members can also put their name forward for to serve on the Board of Directors.

By comparison, our much larger, federally chartered/publicly held banks are required to operate in the best interest of their shareholders but those shareholders may or may not include account holders unlike Provincially chartered Credit Unions where the shareholders are also the account holders/customers. That makes for a really BIG difference.

Operating in the best interest of their members means Credit Unions will redistribue profits on a regular basis to members and also give back in a BIG way to the local communities where those members live. In 2012, Canadian Credit Unions contributed more than $35.6 million to communities in the form of direct donations, sponsorships, scholarships & bursaries and donations-in-kind. It’s a pretty nice Win/Win that makes paying interest or fees a lot more palatable, knowing that they contribute to profit which you or your community will benefit from down the road.

Having said that, Credit Unions do tend to charge lower fees while offering higher rates of interest on your savings.

The fact that it’s not all about BIG profit for Credit Unions may also account for the very rich history of innovation that Credit Unions can boast about:

  • First financial institutions to lend to women in their own names (in the 1960s)
  • First full-service ATMs
  • First fully functional online banking
  • First loans based on borrower character
  • First payroll deduction service for deposits and loan payments
  • First open mortgages & home equity lines of credit
  • First debit card service
  • First registered education plans
  • First cheque imaging service
  • First to offer branchless banking (Citizens Bank)

If you are looking for just a few Good examples of the Good Work that Credit Unions are doing in the Community, follow along just below. If you happen to work with a Credit Union and wish to find out how LegacyTracker can help your Credit Union provide even greater value to your members, please get in touch !

FirstOntario Credit Union recently partnered with the New Hamilton Innovation Hub/Collaborative workspace that traditional lenders turned down Read about it here

Libro Credit Union offers Community builder Grants to help youth develop leadership and career skills in the Communities they serve. In 2014, those grants total approximately $560,000  Read more here   They also offer Money School online 

DUCA Credit Union who recently launched Canada’s first 100% online service to members, including New Members sign/up (via “SNAPP”), donates 4% of profits to the community and commits an estimated $500K to the Ontario Credit Union Charitable Foundation Read more here

Doing good for Members & Doing good for Others makes a difference for many of us when we are looking for who to do Business with ourselves. & that should make the future very bright for Credit Unions

We do think that LegacyTracker is a perfect fit for Credit Unions to offer to their members/account holders; so if you work with a Credit Union or are a member of one…pass our name along or Connect. (Please)

 We think we are a good fit !

Credit Unions Core Values

Credit Unions Core Values

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today in Canada there are approximately :

326 Credit Unions working with approximately 5.3 million members in approximately 1,741 different locations who also happen to contribute approximately $35.6 million in the form of financial donations, scholarships in kind donations and volunteerism to the communities they work with.

The Brand Attributes & Values that Co-operative Banks and Credit Unions all share that make them a little different have to do with the importance they give: Community, Participation, Social Responsibility, Customer Service, Ownership, and ..Profits for a higher purpose.

It’s a “here to serve attitude” which we both appreciate and share. 

Co-operatives and Credit Unions ensure members are front and centre given that those members are also the Shareholders which also explains why most often… fees are a little lower, interest on savings are a little higher, Giving Back to the local Community is a Bigger priority and those who might be under-served elsewhere are often served very nicely…thank you. 

Not unlike many financial organizations today, however, the challenges are many for     Co-operatives and Credit Unions: 

  • How to Differentiate in a very busy marketplace
  • How to attracting younger generations (including heirs/next generations)
  • How to maintain or improve member retention by meeting member needs
  • How to show innovation
  • How to continue to show relevance and value
  • How to do more/be more with existing clients

Unlike their larger competitors, Canadian Credit Unions also have to work hard to maintain that higher member/customer satisfaction rate that the Annual Ipsos Best Banking Awards Survey has bestowed upon them for 9 years straight by being First in Overall Customer Service Excellence. The Pressure !

LegacyTracker offers many benefits for users (and their families) which all centre on simplifying, safeguarding and sharing important information that can make a difference. It’s a Personal Financial Management Tool that goes beyond Finance and into Estate Planning and being prepared for a What if scenario that no one wants to think about. It’s about working towards reducing the alarming growth in Unclaimed Financial Assets that are estimated to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $63 Billion + in North America.

That’s why we think offering LegacyTracker to Members would be another Big way that Credit Unions can demonstrate Customer Advocacy.

Customer Advocacy as defined by Foresters  is shown when customers feel that their firm does what’s best for them, not just the firm’s own bottom line 

Customer Advocacy is a really BIG deal that many of us are looking for today. Foresters for the last 10 years has indicated that it’s a key driver of customer relationships and loyalty in the retail financial service market which yields the most sustainable revenue growth. In their most recent report, Foresters has suggested that Customer Advocacy is not just a strategy but an imperative now and a necessary competitive advantage.