June 20, 2023

Innovation to Become Saskatchewan’s First Credit Union with National Reach

Innovation Credit Union has been granted approval to become a credit union with national reach effective June 23, 2023. The change means Innovation can now promote its products and services across the country, something it couldn’t do as a provincially regulated credit union.

Innovation CEO, Daniel Johnson, says this development levels the playing field and gives the credit union the flexibility to diversify its membership and its deposit base. The ability to expand its boundaries will help Innovation address challenges, including an aging membership and competition from banks and technology companies vying for members’ financial business from across the country.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to evolve and remain a valuable, profitable, and meaningful financial institution,” says Johnson. “We want to grow and succeed for our members and having national reach makes that possible.”

The approval by Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, follows an extensive review by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) to assess Innovation’s readiness to meet the standards of a credit union with national reach. The process involved gaining approval from many regulators as well as both levels of government. Members approved the change in December 2017 when 82% of the 17,214 casting ballots voted in favour of the proposal.  

“We spent a lot of time consulting with our members,” says Innovation Board Chair, Russ Siemens. “Without them, we couldn’t take this important step to secure Innovation’s future. Having national reach positions us to better serve future generations. We want to be your credit union and your grandchildren’s.”

Credit unions with national reach are subject to The Bank Act and are regulated by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. However, other than new signage and an updated logo, Innovation CEO Daniel Johnson says members won’t notice much difference when the credit union opens its doors on June 23rd. Innovation’s products and services won’t change nor will account numbers.  

The credit union will look to serve members across the country via mobile and online banking rather than building new branches outside Saskatchewan. This means jobs created by the new business model will be primarily in Saskatchewan. 

“We’re proud to be a Saskatchewan-based business. Our commitment to this province and our co-operative principles won’t change as we strengthen our credit union for the future,” says Innovation Board Chair, Russ Siemens.  

Innovation Credit Union will be the third credit union in Canada to receive approval to operate nationally.


About Innovation Federal Credit Union

Innovation Federal Credit Union is Saskatchewan’s third largest credit union with just over $4.4 billion in administered assets and over 59,000 members. Its over 400 employees help meet members’ financial needs through 24 advice centres across western Saskatchewan, as far north as Buffalo Narrows and as far south as Frontier.

As a member-owned co-operative, Innovation has a long, proud history of giving back through community development, volunteerism, sponsorships, scholarships, and charitable giving. Each year, the credit union and its employees support hundreds of community causes. Innovation donates 2% to 4% of its pre-tax profits and is recognized as a Caring Company by Imagine Canada. As part of its Responsible Banking™ philosophy, Innovation shares its success with members. Since 2007, the credit union has returned approximately $40 million in profit-sharing dollars to members.  

National Reach

Historically, credit unions were restricted from promoting products and services outside their home provinces. Legislation enacted in 2012 allows credit unions to apply to become credit unions with national reach, permitting them to promote to potential members across Canada. Innovation will be the third Canadian credit union with national reach and the first in Saskatchewan. 

The process 

The application process takes several years. Before applying, a credit union must receive approval from 75% of voting members. The proposal also requires the approval of:

  • Saskatchewan regulators: Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation and Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority
  • Federal regulators:  Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

The benefits

  • The ability to do business outside Saskatchewan means Innovation can diversify its deposit and loan base and gain access to funding sources not available to provincially regulated credit unions. This makes Innovation less susceptible to changes in the local economy. 

  • An evolving credit union means expanded career opportunities for employees as new positions are introduced to support a new business model. Expanding digitally and not opening new branches means these jobs will be based primarily in Saskatchewan. 

  • With improved potential for continued growth, Innovation has a greater ability to support community causes, reward members, and develop new products and services.

  • A credit union with national reach will be better positioned to meet challenges and compete with banks and technology companies providing financial services across the country.  

What won’t change 

Innovation members won’t notice much of a difference in day-to-day operations. There will be:

  • no impact to current products and services
  • no change in Innovation’s commitment to their co-operative values
  • no change in what it means to be a member (one member, one vote)
  • no change to our Innovation’s local presence as they will keep jobs and branches in local communities, using local employees and technology to serve members across Canada
  • no difference in their commitment to maintaining ties with the Saskatchewan credit union system 

What will change

Eligible deposits with Innovation Federal Credit Union will now be insured by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), which covers deposits held in all federally regulated financial institutions.

To learn more about CDIC coverage visit https://cdic.ca.