We begin a new feature today. Letter of the week will publish the best letter of the week as an article in order to expose it to more viewers.
This week’s is from Carlo Polidoro, board Chair of local financial institution, Victory Credit Union.
Roy Murray brings up a valid concern in his November 27 op-ed. As a longtime resident of Weston and working in Mount Dennis, I have been disappointed by the recent bank branch closures, which have left vulnerable members of the community without access to an institution they have been loyal to for decades. However, there is an easier and more realistic solution than asking the banks to keep a branch open in each community.
The simple solution is to bank at a credit union.
Victory Community Credit Union has been serving the Weston and Mount Dennis communities since 1948. I have had the pleasure of being a member for over 20 years and board member for 10 years. Victory recently announced a partnership with Luminus Financial, another community-minded credit union with a 65-year history. The partnership will strengthen both credit unions financially, allow them to offer even more products and services, and most importantly, both credit unions will continue to serve members from their existing brick-and-mortar branches.
If you have never banked with a credit union, I would highly recommend learning more about it. Banks and credit unions offer essentially the same products and services but operate in very different ways.
Credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives. Their profits are distributed back to credit union members in the form of profit-sharing, lower loan rates and higher yields on savings. They are run by a local board of directors who are elected by the credit union members, and members vote on how their credit union is run.
By contrast, banks are shareholder-owned. Their profits are not shared with customers. They are run by a board of directors who are not necessarily customers, and customers have no say in how their bank is run (as we have seen here in Weston/Mount Dennis).
Banks and credit unions both offer deposit protection, so your money is safe either way. But credit unions in Canada have a much better reputation for customer satisfaction—they were just awarded the Ipsos Best Banking Award for Customer Service Excellence and Branch Service Excellence for the 13th consecutive year.
If your bank has left the community, or you’re worried that yours will be the next to go, consider opening an account at Victory. You can visit them in person at 2011 Lawrence Ave W unit 11, or give them a call at 416-243-0686.