Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
This year is 75th for Ukrainian Credit Union Limited. On the verge of this jubilee, the Credit Union became Canada’s largest Ukrainian financial cooperative by balance sheet, membership and extent of branch network.
At the UCU’s AGM on April 16, the CEO Taras Pidzamecky informed the members present at the AGM that, in 2018, the Credit Union’s assets grew by almost 7.0% to more than $859.0 million while the membership grew by 1.9% to 24,425. The Credit Union’s profit from operations in 2018 increased by more than $750 thousand over the previous year. The profit growth was due to further increases in interest rates, growth of UCU’s lending portfolio, stronger wealth management, creditor insurance and service charge revenues. The Credit Union advanced 1,568 credit applications in 2018 which totaled more than $187 million.
Over the past year, Ukrainian Credit Union Limited introduced or paved the way for a number of new service offerings and improvements, including more competitive pricing on US dollar exchange and expansion of foreign currency services; more affordable loan disability insurance and introduction of life insurance services; debit card tap; the new UCU Collabria MasterCard; on-line international money transfers and on-line member on-boarding and borrowing.
UCU has always had as its major mission to share its success with the community. From the very onset, when it was founded in 1944 as Ukrainian (Toronto) Credit Union Limited by the Toronto Branch of the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada, UCU strived to improve the socio-economic life of its community and to support the Ukrainian cause of liberation and independence.
After the World War II, UCU’s growing prosperity has been directed, in particular, to assist refugees stranded in Europe and unable to return home. Many of these post-war refugees, as well as Ukrainians from Poland, who came to Canada in 1970-80s, other Ukrainians and other nationalities who found a home in Canada starting from 1990s, joined the ranks of UCU.
Over the 75 years of its history, UCU has supported hundreds of worthy cultural-educational, religious, humanitarian or recreational projects and causes across Canada and beyond. At the AGM, UCU’s Chair of the Board of Directors presented a cheque for $10,000 to the president of Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Lesia Chyczij.
Since the start of the Russian aggression in the Crimea and Donbas, UCU members and staff have supported Ukraine and Ukrainians. These efforts include humanitarian support of wounded or disabled Ukrainian veterans and their families through the UCU staff-led “UCU Helps Ukraine” program. In the past four years, the program has distributed $224,000 to 115 recipients.
In 2018, UCU has also been involved in sponsoring an evening with Canadians organized by the Ukrainian War Veterans Association to honour Canadian military men and women who have provided training to Ukraine military personnel within the program UNIFIER, and Canada Ukraine Parliamentary Program that provides educational internships for Ukraine students in the Federal parliament.
At the AGM, it was announced that UCU’s CFO Marc Sirard is retiring this year. Sirard assumed the role of CFO in 2012 after the 2010 merger of So-Use Credit Union Limited with UCU. At So-Use, he had served as CFO and later CEO for many years. He will be succeeded as CFO on May 1, 2019 by Bradley Sutherland, CA who has extensive internal audit experience with a national accounting firm and over a dozen years of financial innovation experience with one of the large Canadian banks.
The members also ackowledged the great services of Olya Sheweli and Greg Adamowich who retired from the Board of Directors.
The AGM this year voted to fill four seats at the Board of Directors. Out of five candidates, the members voted in Michael Mychailyshyn, Irena Fedchun, Myron Oleksyshyn and Peter Malajczuk. The new directors have expertise in law, accounting and credit union audit, competencies which will add to the Board’s professional capacity.
As has become UCU’s tradition, the members voted that all dividends on membership shares for 2018 be directed towards humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and towards reputable Canadian and international organizations that support Ukraine in its endeavours to restore its territorial integrity and build democratic institutions.
The New Pathway – Ukrainian News is grateful to Ukrainian Credit Union Limited for the donation of $25,000 which was presented at the AGM.