Community-Focused Approach

Innovation Credit Union expands branch hours and banking services in communities where retail banks are closing

Like hockey arenas and schools, credit unions are regarded as the lifeblood of rural communities. But with dozens of retail banks permanently closing their doors throughout Saskatchewan, this landscape is changing. Residents have met these closures with frustration, particularly those who can only do their banking locally. In addition to the personal inconvenience, bank closures can be a devastating blow to small farming communities, impacting residents, local businesses and job opportunities.

While Canada’s national banks are downsizing in the internet age, there is one financial institution in Saskatchewan taking a decidedly more community-focused approach. Innovation Credit Union, which serves over 51,000 people throughout Southwest and North Central Saskatchewan, looked beyond national marketing data and into the hearts and minds of its customers, who the credit union refers to as members. Innovation, which is owned by its members and overseen by an elected board of directors, has begun extending branch hours in a few communities and increasing its telephone services. Today, as retail banks sit empty in many small towns, Innovation’s call centre is now open seven days a week and branches that used to be open three days a week are now open every business day in the towns of Hodgeville, Buffalo Narrows, Lancer, Medstead, Meota and Shell Lake.

The credit union took things to the next level with its staff as well, offering continuous training to empower employees to meet members’ banking needs in-branch or over the phone from the call centre. Diane Engel, Supervisor Member Services at Innovation’s Gravelbourg branch says this strengthens Innovation’s team and makes staff feel valued and secure in their roles. “As other banks have closed their doors in our towns, Innovation’s doors have opened wider. That’s 100% because Innovation Credit Union is committed to doing what’s best for the communities it serves.”

Beyond the financial services Innovation offers its members, the credit union is committed to growth in Saskatchewan. This is reflected in a community investment of $5.7 million over the past 12 years and staff volunteerism efforts of approximately 14,000 hours in 2018 alone. Deeply rooted in Innovation’s commitment to Responsible Banking, this is a story that will continue to unfold to the benefit of the growing number of people the credit union serves.

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer personalized, local service that meets members’ demands,” explains Innovation CEO Daniel Johnson. “We’ve always tried to be a champion for good causes in our communities. Our people value local banking that’s convenient, so it’s our responsibility to provide it. Where banks see closures as the only option for growth, we see an opportunity to make our communities a better place for people to live and work.”

About Innovation Expand/Collapse

Headquartered in Saskatchewan, Innovation Credit Union provides a full range of financial services to over 51,000 members including individuals, businesses, and organizations across the province. In 2018, its membership voted in favor of becoming a federal credit union that will enable Innovation to do business anywhere in Saskatchewan and all of Canada. Through the lens of Responsible Banking and innovation, Innovation Credit Union reinvests its profits into delivering economically viable solutions for all Canadians to access mutually beneficial and affordable world class financial products and services – wherever and whenever members need them.

Our Purpose Expand/Collapse

At Innovation Credit Union, we strive to redefine banking by helping Canadians simplify their lives and reach their financial goals by reinvesting profits into our members, our communities, and our people. Now that’s Responsible Banking!

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Federal Continuance

For information on upcoming changes to DEPOSIT INSURANCE if we become a federal credit union, see our disclosure notice. Creditors who have concerns may contact Innovation Credit Union.

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