The credit union advantage

If I asked you which financial institution had the 2nd largest ATM network in Canada, what would you answer? Would it surprise you to hear that the answer is Ukrainian Credit Union Limited? Strange but true. Through our membership in the Exchange Network ( our members have surcharge-free access to over 3,300 ATMs in Canada. Convenient no? Well that is not the only benefit of being a member of a credit union.

Some of you reading this article might already know about the benefits of belonging to a credit union. Many of you probably already are members of Ukrainian Credit Union Limited or belong to one of the many community groups that benefit from the financial support of Ukrainian Credit Union Limited (UCU). However, I know that there are many people out there who are not very familiar with credit unions in general, and lots of people who do not know there are credit unions, such as ours, that are dedicated to serving the Ukrainian community directly.

Credit unions are trusted by millions of Canadians

Credit unions are financial institutions that count you in as a member and an owner, not just a customer. The principle of putting members first galvanized the growth of credit unions and caisse populaires (the French-language version of credit unions) over 100 years ago in Canada.

Today, there are 694 credit unions and caisses populaires in Canada, with almost 3,000 branches. They hold combined assets of $328 billion and serve over 10.1 million members*. As the millions of credit union members will tell you, credit unions work hard for and with their members, making a difference in their local communities.

The credit union difference

If you walk by one of our branch, or use our online services, you might think that we are just like other financial institutions. But here’s the difference: a credit union is a financial co-operative, owned by its members, who are also customers. It is owned and controlled by the people it serves.

Guided by the Co-operative Principles, credit unions are a secure place to save, invest or borrow money. The seven internationally accepted Co-operative Principles shape credit union business decisions and governance, setting credit unions apart from other financial institutions:

1. Voluntary and open membership
2. Democratic member control
3. Member economic participation – at credit unions, members have equitable, democratic control of their capital
4. Autonomy and independence – credit unions are independent organizations controlled by members
5. Education, training and information to stakeholders
6. Co-operation among other co-operatives – credit unions work together locally, regionally, nationally and internationally
7. Concern for community – credit unions work for sustainable development of their communities

Full range of services

Credit unions such as UCU are proud of their financial expertise and friendly service. We offer a full range of financial services – savings and chequing accounts, loans, personal lines of credit, mortgages, business accounts and commercial loans, Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA), RRSPs, RRIFs, RESPs, RDSPs, and investment opportunities as well as trust, estate planning and insurance programs.

Sharing a common bond

You don’t just open an account with a credit union – you JOIN a credit union. Membership is the most distinctive feature of the credit union system. As a member of Ukrainian Credit Union Limited you share a common bond with your fellow credit union members. We serve Ukrainians, both new immigrants as well as fourth and fifth generation Ukrainian Canadians across Ontario from Windsor to Ottawa and from Thunder Bay to St. Catharines. In each community we provide financial support through donations and loans to churches, dance groups, youth groups, professional associations and cultural organizations. In many communities we are the only institution with the financial means to provide such financial support.

You have a voice

Credit union members are owners, because they are also shareholders. The fundamental operating principle of credit unions is democratic ownership: one member, one vote, regardless of the amount of shareholdings or deposits. That means you have a voice, along with other members in setting the credit union’s direction at the local level, where services meet your needs. You can also share in the distribution of earnings and seek election to the credit union’s board of directors. Furthermore, you could be elected to regional or national boards or committees.

Roman Litwinchuk
Chief Operating Officer
Ukrainian Credit Union Limited
416-922-2797, ext. 214

* Credit Unions in Canada