The Credit Union Difference

Date: October 12, 2022

Choosing where to bank is often a decision that is made for us. Either by parents that start children off early with a savings plan or by following the advice of where our friends and family chose to manage their money.

Whether you already have a bank account or are looking to choose a financial institution that offers an alternative way to manage your money and a way to give back to your community, a credit union is a great option to consider.

Credit unions are financial institutions, just like banks, except they are owned by the members. Credit unions are non-profit organizations with a mandate to serve their members. That means their primary goal is to provide better products and services to their members, not seek a profit.

Since credit unions are not-for-profits, any money they earn is invested back into the organization, issued as dividends to their members, or donated to the community. Credit unions can range dramatically in size, from just a few hundred members in a local community to a large organization with thousands of members. Westoba Credit Union has over 38,000 members, 13 branch locations as well as a Virtual Services department accessible from anywhere.

Major domestic banks are federally regulated and Bank deposits up to $100,000 are insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). Deposits in any Manitoba credit union are guaranteed without limit by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (DGCM).

Another key difference is that credit unions are financial cooperatives that are locally owned and controlled by their members. Westoba is governed by a volunteer board of directors that is elected democratically. Each credit union member gets one vote, regardless of the size of their deposits or investments. Commercial banks, on the other hand, have board members that are elected by shareholders and don’t have a professional relationship with the bank.

Like banks, you can access the same basic financial products at a credit union, including chequing and savings accounts. MAXA Financial is Westoba’s digital financial institution offering great investment rates to our members across Canada. As a division of Westoba Credit Union Ltd, based in Manitoba, deposits held with MAXA Financial are also guaranteed 100% by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba.

One area credit unions typically excel in is customer service. Most employees of a credit union take pride in working for a not-for-profit organization and are focused on helping members reach financial success. Operating by the seven cooperative principles, Westoba is committed to our members as well as the sustainable development of our communities through policies and member feedback.

Credit union members including the staff, often have similar interests, live in the same geographic region, work closely together, or participate in common organizations. Understanding members and their needs enables our team to provide high-quality, personalized service.

Choosing a credit union or a big bank for your financial services is a personal decision that can have a significant impact on your future. If you are interested in learning more about the cooperative principles and how Westoba Credit Union can improve your financial health at any stage, talk to one of our team today or visit our Westoba for more information.