ETCU annual meeting
The Estonian Credit Union held its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, March 25th. The meeting was held in both Estonian and English, and highlighted the strength and success of the credit union in its 60th anniversary year.
The Chair of the Board, Mihkel Tombak, introduced each board member, and thanked the board for its dedication in overseeing the credit union’s activities and governance. This same dedication is seen in the credit union staff, whose names were read by the President and CEO Anita Saar, and whose hard work and customer service allows the credit union to run effectively every day.
In their speeches, both Mihkel Tombak and Anita Saar reinforced the fact that the Estonian Credit Union has shown strength in the past year, and can proudly say that its anniversary year was a great success. Anita reported that the credit union is financially strong and stable; growing and expanding its service offering; and active members and sponsors of the Estonian Community.
Comparing themselves with the big banks, whose revenue and shareholder profits rely on multiple customer service fees and low deposit rates, the credit union continues to offer members very competitive deposit and loan rates, while maintaining a no fee core banking policy, and continuing, as a financial cooperative, to return profits to its members and the Estonian community. The CEO emphasized that this is increasingly rare in today’s markets.
ECU surpassed both budget and prior year in 2014. Particularly noteworthy is that ECU improved both profitability and return on assets, whereas these declined in the credit union sector overall. Thanks to reducing excess liquidity, growing the commercial loans portfolio, and loyal members, the credit union stands in a strong position to embark on the next 60 years! The credit union’s regulator and deposit insurer, the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario, confirmed the strong governance structure and risk management in place at the credit union during its regular bi-annual examination in 2014, giving ECU a score of 100%. . This perfect score combined with their strong capital position, means ECU is placed firmly in the lowest premium category!
In the past year, as a 60th anniversary initiative, the credit union has focused on financial education and building financial literacy across all age groups with the beginning of its “Your Money” program. This program includes newspaper articles, visits from the Estonian Schools, a dedicated area on their website with financial tips, and well-received financial seminars. It is worthwhile to follow their social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, where information and short videos are posted that answer many of your financial questions. One of the humorous videos focuses on the difference between banks and credit unions, and was shown at the meeting. In addition to this financial education package, the credit union has introduced seasonal special purpose loans including wedding loans and loans for children’s camp fees, and continues to build financial advisory services to support its members’ special needs at every stage of life.
ECU’s membership continues to grow, and not only that but it is growing younger! Over the past few years the credit union has been successful in attracting new members from younger generations. Demographic trends are seeing a redistribution of membership to younger age groups, gaining many members in the 30-79 year age range, allowing for a strong future.
ETCU annual meeting Estonian Life