“The Board’s most important accountability is to Vancity members and I’m very proud of the work our credit union did in 2018 to meet your needs.”
Vancity’s Board of Directors is democratically elected by members. We have multiple governance responsibilities, including to ensure that our members’ needs are met and questions are answered. As the keepers of Vancity’s vision, we provide critical oversight on our strategic direction and oversee Vancity’s work on issues that matter to members – things as diverse as affordable housing, environmental sustainability, living wages and reconciliation with Indigenous people.
Democratic and accountable governance
Vancity Board members have legally mandated responsibilities. It’s important for us to keep a careful eye on our operational and financial performance and to oversee our compliance with applicable laws and regulations. We ensure that we maintain a healthy relationship with our regulator, the Financial Institutions Commission, by meeting with them and receiving reports about our credit union.
Our committee structure – Board members serve on at least three committees each – helps us to ensure we’re meeting our responsibilities. For example, the audit committee reviews our financial performance and controls while also ensuring a sound external audit. In 2018, the risk committee oversaw a robust process of strengthening our risk appetite framework – which sets the factors Vancity considers in making decisions. The Board also recently established a digital strategy committee because we see our future and the needs of our members as inextricably linked to digital offerings.
This essential, sometimes unglamorous, work is a hallmark of the strong, democratic governance we have at Vancity and it makes a difference in the lives of our members. It helps to ensure that our credit union can be there for you with products and services you need and financial advice you can trust.
Upholding our core values
Our commitment to member needs also holds true when we face challenges, like the service outage from October 3 to 6, 2018 that affected many of our members. The way our credit union responded – by keeping branches open over the holiday weekend and proactively reaching out to members who we knew were making large transactions – speaks to Vancity’s core values as a co-operative financial institution that always puts members first. Once the system was restored, the Board established a special committee to oversee an independent review and to receive recommendations. We reported out to our members about the cause, and to assure you that the issue had been removed.
As a credit union, we always look for opportunities to make good money for our members while also increasing our positive social and environmental impact. The Board reviews and approves large impact investments as well as how we define the positive impact we have on communities. In 2018, we also created a climate justice working group to study what more Vancity can do to lead in this area. We’re involved in discussions on systems-wide issues like the regulation of credit unions in B.C., rules on commercial lending and the consolidation of wealth management services.
It’s important to note that we couldn’t do this work without Vancity’s talented and dedicated employees – they are the lifeblood of our organization and on behalf of the Board I want to thank them. Finally, the Board’s most important accountability is to Vancity members and I’m very proud of the work our credit union did in 2018 to meet your needs. Thank you for your support and the incredible connections you have with Vancity.
Chair, Vancity Board of Directors