A MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT AND CEO, JIM REDIGER:
Dear Members and Communities,
October 3, 2023, marks a momentous milestone for Westoba as we celebrate our 60th year in business. Through the unwavering support of our loyal members, we have flourished into one of the most successful credit unions in Manitoba. We owe this success to our members, and to show our heartfelt appreciation, we embarked on a journey of giving back to Manitoba communities, exemplifying The Westoba Way.
This year, as part of our commitment to community, a total of $60,000 will be given away through the Westoba Inspire Fund, supporting projects that contribute to the development of community infrastructure. At Westoba, we believe that investing in your community is not just a duty but a privilege.
Westoba Credit Union has undergone a remarkable journey that has firmly placed our members, people, and communities at the heart of everything it does. From our humble beginnings to our evolution into a technology-leading institution, Westoba has been proud to stand by your side, celebrating important milestones, victories, moments big and small.
Our journey, spanning over six decades of dedication to our members and communities, underscores the profound impact a financial institution can have when it places people at its core. Just as we have grown, evolved, and embraced innovation, we’ve seen the communities we serve flourish and members thrive.
Westoba’s story began in 1963 when it was chartered as Brandon Consumers Credit Union Society Ltd. The vision was straightforward: create a financial institution that prioritized the needs of its members and the welfare of its communities. Founded on the principles of cooperation and mutual support, we quickly became a trusted partner for our members, offering them a safe, secure establishment for our financial needs.
As our financial services expanded within the Keystone province, the credit union principles of member-focused financial services and community involvement were brought to a wider audience. Manitoba quickly embraced the Westoba ethos, now, with 13 physical branches stretching from the Pas to Winnipeg to Killarney; Westoba has been a pillar of support in our communities since—nurturing thriving neighbourhoods one project, one conversation at a time.
A Focus on Community
Westoba’s commitment extends beyond our members to the communities it serves, championing initiatives like sharing financial expertise at local schools and immigration centres, like Westman Immigrant Services, through financial literacy programs, sponsoring community and cultural events, and the sponsorship of infrastructure like Westoba Place and Westoba Agriculture Centre of Excellence in Brandon. Giving back is deeply rooted in Westoba’s values and Co-operative Principles – a commitment known as The Westoba Way.
In 2017, Westoba introduced the Westoba Inspire Community Investment Program, an initiative designed to provide financial support to communities seeking to create positive, sustainable change. This program has funded more than 35 multi-functional projects, aiding numerous community organizations across this prairie province with funding totaling over $200,000; including a sixty-thousand-dollar contribution in 2023 to celebrate Westoba’s 60th anniversary.
Over the last six years, inspiring stories have surfaced, such as the All Nations Sharing Circle at the Brandon Riverbank Discovery Centre, 2020 Westoba Inspire recipient. Dean Hammond, Executive Director of Brandon Riverbank Inc. and Brandon Tourism, says, “Thanks to Westoba Credit Union and our Inspire Program, our vision came to life in 2021. The All Nations Sharing Circle is a tremendous space that will allow Riverbank and all of Brandon to continue its efforts towards reconciliation.” It’s initiatives like these that exemplify the powerful impact of community-focused financial institutions. Watch our latest video about Westoba Inspire below!
As the world rapidly embraced technological changes, so did Westoba. In 1980, Westoba became the first credit union in Manitoba with an online banking system. When 1987 arrived, Westoba became the first credit union in the province on the Interac Network.
Over the last two decades, the credit union has undertaken a digital transformation journey to offer our members more convenience and accessibility including the introduction of a user-friendly online banking platform to the launch of the cutting-edge WestobaGO mobile app. Members could now manage our finances with ease, 24 hours, 7 days a week. In 2006, Westoba launched our subsidiary digital institution MAXA Financial. Providing superior investment rates, this digital wing extends Westoba’s reach to members across Canada. The incorporation of DocuSign has streamlined paperwork, reducing hassles for members while also being environmentally responsible. Additionally, Westoba introduced additional services, providing personalized assistance to members from the comfort of our homes or work.
A New Purpose, Mission, Vision, and Values
In keeping with our commitment to continuous improvement, Westoba took a significant step this year by seeking feedback from our members, communities, and dedicated teams. The goal was to redefine our Purpose, Mission, Vision, and Values to better reflect the evolving needs and aspirations of all stakeholders.
This collaborative effort resulted in a powerful set of guiding principles that will hopefully shape Westoba for the next 60 years. The credit union’s Purpose now encapsulates our unwavering dedication to making a meaningful difference in the lives of our members and communities. Our Mission reflects the commitment to providing innovative financial solutions with a personal touch, and our Vision aims for a future where financial well-being knows no boundaries. Finally, our Values underscore the importance of trust, integrity, innovation, and inclusivity in all member interactions.
As Garnet McBurney, Chair of Westoba’s Board of Directors shared with me, “We are proud of our journey and our corporate statement, it goes beyond providing financial services but to our commitment to community and our people. As we celebrate this anniversary, I am confident that our best days are yet to come.”
Celebrating 60 Years and International Credit Union Day
Westoba’s journey has been a tale of working together. We are focused on providing our members with the technology and products our members need, while continuing to support our communities. As Westoba transforms with the changing banking environment, our employees, members, and communities will always be at the heart of what we do.
Westoba invites all members, partners, and community members to join in the festivities on October 19, 2023, to celebrate this milestone. The 75th Anniversary of International Credit Union Day serves as the perfect occasion to reflect on the incredible journey of Westoba and our unwavering commitment to members and where we live and work.
Members, friends, and community are welcome to drop by any Westoba branch, where refreshments will be served, and staff members will be available to chat. It’s an opportunity for everyone to share our stories, celebrate the credit union’s remarkable journey as we forge together toward the future. I speak for all of Westoba when I say, we look forward to sharing the next 60 years with you.
-Jim Rediger, President and CEO of Westoba Credit Union