TORONTO (11/14/14)--Canadian credit unions last year handed nearly $50 million in profits back to the communities they serve, according to the annual Credit Union Community Involvement Survey, published by the Credit Union Central of Canada (Co-operative News Nov. 13).
A total contribution of $49.3 million was handed back to the collective Canadian community through donations, financial services, sponsorships and scholarships in 2013.
The total represents a 38% increase from the previous year's amount of $35.6 million.
"Investing in the communities we serve through social responsibility initiatives is part of our DNA, and has long been at the core of the Canadian credit union system," Martha Durdin, president/CEO of the Credit Union Central of Canada, told the Co-operative News.
Broken down, more than $38 million was given through donations and scholarships, $1.6 million through charitable foundations, $2.6 million through donations in kind, and $5.5 million through financial services to community organizations.
In addition to monetary donations, Canadian credit union employees volunteered in droves last year.
More than 60% of survey respondents said their employees participated in community activities as part of their paid work in 2013, and 76% said employees participated in volunteer activities during time off.
"Canada's 27,850 credit union employees bring significant value to local organizations, often serving on boards or committees and helping to provide financial and management expertise for everything ranging from sports league and seniors' clubs to local hospitals and charitable foundations," Durdin said.
Credit unions also helped their communities by waiving or cutting back service charges--the most popular types of benefits offered in 2013--translating into $5.1 million in savings.
Further, $400,000 was given through other savings such as free checks, increased interest on deposits and preferred borrowing rates.