Message from the board and management
As the global pandemic shows signs of easing at last, we look back and reflect on 2021. It was a successful year for Kootenay Savings. While COVID-19 had wide-ranging impacts on the world economy, our industry and our communities, throughout we worked and prospered together.
Many times, our agility and adaptability were put to the test, but our commitment to you remained rock solid.
Amid changing orders, restrictions and case counts, we prioritized the health and safety of our members and employees. The resilience of our people was truly commendable – working differently and adaptively today with an eye towards how we might work in the future. We saw the ongoing pandemic as an opportunity to learn, educate and invest in our staff, build our capacity, and expand our service offerings.
For our members, this meant enhanced access across several channels. The use of our Member Service Contact Centre increased by 7% over 2020, and our advisors there more than doubled the number of mortgages they handled the previous year, completing over 400 in 2021. Our contact centre now has the ability to serve members in a variety of new ways and our membership is taking full advantage of this.
We also improved other key services over the year. Members looking for small loans of $25,000 or less are delighted with our new streamlined Express Loan process. Not only are these borrowers saving time and gaining convenience, employees are telling us the process is seamless and adds to the member experience. In online banking, you can now open deposit accounts yourself, another enhancement that is being well received.
For our employees, new initiatives meant 5,000 hours of additional training in 2021. From customized learning for those in member facing roles to creating a more accepting, tolerant and inclusive workforce, education is key. Every employee in the organization completed unconscious bias training during the year. We recognize that diversity and inclusion will continue to be an area of future growth and development for us all.
On September 30, we closed our branch and department operations in honour of the new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation commemorating the tragic legacy of residential schools in Canada. At Kootenay Savings, we strongly believe that a better understanding of our shared history is important and will lead to a kinder, more inclusive society.
The year also saw the withdrawal of our merger application. What we were attempting – the merger of six regional credit unions at once – was a BC first. What we have all gained in the process is even more substantial. We are a partnership of like-minded credit unions that will continue to champion local, community-based financial services in the places we call home. We are well positioned to continue our collaboration and to grow together strategically.
With the merger put to rest midway through the year, employees focused their efforts on our core business, resulting in financial performance ahead of targets.
Bolstered by pandemic saving, a booming real estate market and low loan rates, both retail deposits and loans grew significantly, as did our commercial lending portfolio. Our insurance brokerage performed well, too. A strategic partnership leveraging the strengths of several credit unions, Kootenay Insurance Services Ltd. shows how well a collaborative and co-operative model really works.
Our wealth management arm, Kootenay Savings MoneyWorks, and its clients endured another year of market volatility due to COVID-19’s continued impact on the global economy. The knowledgeable, independent advice provided by our advisors helped clients stay the course, and substantial gains were made by year-end.
The bottom line: Kootenay Savings’ total dollars under management increased 9.50% to $2.92 billion over the year. Another bright light in a challenging time, we were pleased to declare a 1.25% profit sharing dividend, which paid $312,400 to our member-owners.
Going forward, we will take the lessons we’ve learned in 2021 and build on them. Rest assured, working together with renewed focus and energy, your team at Kootenay Savings has you covered.
Farewell from Brent Tremblay
After 45 years with KSCU, 18 of them as your president and CEO, I will be retiring at the end of May 2022. It’s been an incredible journey. I thank the many managers, directors, employees, credit union colleagues and community leaders I’ve had the honour to work with over the years. But most importantly, I thank the members who’ve given me their trust, and I have every confidence I’m leaving our credit union’s future in good hands.
Brent Tremblay, President & CEO; Michael Bowcock, Chief Risk Officer; Kelly Carroll, VP Wealth Management; Nancy Crockett, VP Sales & Member Experience; Ron Johnston, VP Finance & CFO; Troy Kusy, VP Strategy, Innovation & Technology; Brian Moroney, VP Credit & Support Services; Leanne Proulx, VP People & Culture
Board of Directors
Forrest Drinnan, Chair; Roberta Schnider, Vice Chair; Mike Konkin; Linda MacDermid; Mark Martin; Owen Morris; Am Naqvi; Keith Smyth
Not pictured: Bob Parkinson, retired August 2021; Ron Anderson, retired October 2021