Are credit unions on your tail?

Are credit unions on your tail?

Are credit unions on your tail?

One Winnipeg-based credit union advisor – who wished to remain anonymous – says it’s the less cut-throat, community approach of credit unions that wins clients over. Citing that credit unions have been recognized by the Ipsos Best Banking Awards for nine consecutive years, scoring on top in areas such as financial planning and advice, branch and customer service, he says working for a credit union is far less stressful for the advisor and more appealing for the client. 

“When I worked at the bank, there was always three people in the conversation; me, the bank and you (the client)” he explains. “Because (the credit union) is in the neighbourhood, in the community, I get a lot of members who say they are more comfortable with me managing their assets than they were with their previous advisor.”

Having said this, he believes Ontario’s credit unions will have a tougher time boosting their market presence than those in other provinces, where residents would rather keep their money at home, than hand it over to a national bank. Competing against the Big Five – with head offices in Toronto and limitless resources to connect with customers – is a major plight to overcome, he says. Furthermore, he feels credit unions fail to effectively amplify their strengths and win-over their target audience.

“You can have a real value statement, but what does that mean to the member? What is the value to them?” he asks. “That feel good thing is not different from recycling. It sounds great, but what does that mean to the individual. It has to resonate with you. I just don’t think it (the campaign) resonates with the points that they’ve made.”

Regardless of this advisor's predictions, for the next five years, the campaign will go on with the intention of letting Ontarians know what “banking with a higher purpose,” as Bolton coins it, actually means.

"We answer to Main Street, not Wall Street,” says Bolton. “While we do make profits, we pride ourselves in putting them back into the communities we serve to do good things for everyone.”

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