“Our values-based approach to doing business is particularly important in times dominated by economic uncertainty, affordability pressures and evidence of environmental strain both locally and globally.”
In our local communities and on a global scale we’re seeing an unprecedented amount of change. Everything is changing – from the way we work to the way we connect with each other. At Vancity, we see our role as partnering with our members, our employees and our communities to help them navigate through uncertain times.
We are well-placed to do that because, as a member-owned credit union, we are our members and our members are us. This means the things our members care about are the things we care about too.
The issues of affordability, environmental sustainability and reconciliation with Indigenous people informed much of our work in 2018. We believe that by making progress in these areas we can serve and make money for our members in ways that improve the overall health and resilience of our communities. Vancity’s results and the benefits we generate for our members don’t decline as a result of this values-based approach, they get better – confirmation, once again, that we’re heading in the right direction.
The financial returns our business generates continue to be strong. We generated a net income of $80.6 million in 2018. We will allocate 30 per cent of this, or $24.2 million, to members and communities over the course of 2019. Our assets reached $22.9 billion, a 5.7 per cent or $1.2 billion increase over the previous year. Total assets plus assets under administration are now $27.4 billion, a 3.7 per cent or $1.0 billion increase over 2017.
Setting ambitious goals
We continue to be ambitious in the goals we set for ourselves in areas like member experience, the diversity of our employees and environmental sustainability. Our employee engagement score moved up significantly in 2018, although there is more work to do on that front. We’re also focused on improving our environmental performance and our member experience results.
We said that we would introduce four new services or improvements in 2018 because we know how important it is to members that we are meeting their needs in a variety of different ways. We introduced seven (see pages 15 and 31 of the report), including improvements to e-transfers, Apple Pay and online account opening.
We know we need to provide the day-to-day products and services our members need to make their lives easier, whether they’re online or in our branches. With those in place, we’ll be in a better position to work with our members on the bigger issues they care about.
Those issues once again included affordability in 2018. It’s important to note that this is not just a housing question, it’s an economic one as well. The spike in the cost of housing that we’ve seen in recent years has coincided with a decades-long stagnation in real incomes. We have a role to play in helping our members create sustainable wealth for themselves, their families, their employees and their communities. We have to support those businesses and organizations that provide people with secure employment and living wages. At the same time, we’re also focused on making rent more affordable and helping to ensure community-owned housing and land stays within the community (see pages 17-18 of the report).
When we look at the factors that are going to improve the lives of our members and the health of our communities in the long term, we absolutely have to be looking at climate change. This applies to our own environmental performance and the example we can set for others. It’s also about building connections with those industries and organizations that are well-placed to meet a changing regulatory environment and take advantage of a growing green economy.
Reconciliation with Indigenous people continues to be a defining area of work for Vancity. The potential benefits of our efforts are many and varied: new business growth and innovation, an expanded labour pool, increased cultural understanding and more inclusive, engaged communities. We’re making some progress internally, with 80 per cent of Vancity employees participating in at least one Reconciliation activity in 2018. But we can also be bolder in the work we’re doing to enhance the long-term prosperity of Indigenous communities.
Making a positive difference
A financial institution that only makes money by moving money achieves very little of value beyond those profits. By contrast, Vancity makes money by making a positive difference in the world and in the lives of our members. To do that, we are intentional about the organizations we invest in. But we don’t just make statements about the things we do and then expect people to take our word for it. You’ll see in this report that just as we publish audited financial statements, our key performance results are also externally verified. That’s unique among Canadian banks and credit unions. We do it to ensure we are accountable to our members and to give you confidence that your money is in good hands.
Our values-based approach to doing business is particularly important in times dominated by economic uncertainty, affordability pressures and evidence of environmental strain both locally and globally. Against this backdrop, Vancity’s commitment to supporting our members remains steadfast and I’m confident that we will continue to lead the way.
Thank you for your support.
President and CEO