message from the board
As we look back on 2018, two words come to mind. Positive change. Several major projects were completed over the year and all are working together to make banking better and enhance service to Kootenay Savings members. We introduced a new suite of credit cards offering more choice and value than ever before. We officially launched our new Member Service Centre across our full branch network. We upgraded ATMs to make everyday transactions faster, easier and envelope free. And that’s just a small part of the story.
Digital transformation is changing the banking industry at a rapid rate. We know it’s vital we keep pace and accurately anticipate members’ expectations. Intuitively knowing how you prefer to bank and meeting your needs is our goal. In branch, online, on the phone and mobile app, we’re creating easier access to our products and services – a seamless experience across all touch points, both physical and digital, resulting in a more robust financial relationship and higher value for every member.
Over the year, Kootenay Savings’ total assets grew to $1.2 billion while dollars under management increased 2.12% to $2.4 billion. Great numbers and an even greater opportunity to reward you, our members. In January 2019, our board of directors proudly declared a 2.25% patronage dividend, which saw over $746,000 shared with our member-owners. That we are able to pay a profit sharing dividend for the 26th year in a row in this increasingly competitive marketplace speaks to the passion, hard work and commitment of our amazing employees. It also demonstrates the all-important trust and loyalty our members place in us. And for this, we thank you all.
Our subsidiaries contribute significantly to our success as well. Kootenay Insurance Services Ltd. (KIS) celebrated its best financial year since inception with the addition of McBain Insurance in Summerland. The KIS network now includes eight branch offices in Trail, Nelson, Crawford Bay, Summerland, Cranbrook, Kimberley, Invermere, and most recently, Sparwood.
Despite a downturn in the financial markets late in 2018, our wealth management arm, Kootenay Savings MoneyWorks, also successfully navigated the year. In-depth conversations with clients enable our planners and advisors to truly understand people’s goals and operate nimbly when markets change. By focusing on retirement income planning, we create and manage plans that allow our members to see a clear path to the future and the steps they need to get there.
Speaking of milestones such as retirement, we’re celebrating a significant milestone ourselves this year. It’s our 50th birthday – the anniversary of our three founding community credit unions in Trail, Fruitvale and Castlegar joining forces in 1969. It was the first time a merger of its kind had ever occurred. Now 50 years later, we’re on a similar journey exploring the possibility of bringing together six credit unions from the Boundary, Kootenay and Columbia Valley regions. Another first in credit union history! We’re excited to be sharing some special birthday surprises with you throughout 2019.
Every day, we feel honoured to be serving you. Without your continued loyalty and business, we would not be here. We extend our gratitude to you and our commitment to providing an exceptional member experience, now and into the future.
Brent Tremblay, President & CEO
Ron Anderson, Chair
of basic banking transactions
are completed entirely
through digital channels
members received a
share of our 2018 profits
The boards of directors and senior leaders of Columbia Valley, East Kootenay Community, Grand Forks, Heritage, Kootenay Savings and Nelson & District Credit Unions continue to explore the possibility of building one stronger, united credit union.
Having collaborated on many projects over the years, we six of the original seven partners are excited to see what we can do even better together. We see opportunities to share resources and expertise across the region to provide enhanced service to members, while improving our long-term sustainability.
Through an in-depth due diligence process, a comprehensive business case has been built. All six boards of directors have considered this business case positive and worth moving to the next stage of the process – applying for consent from the provincial regulator. This phase is a very dynamic process with changing timelines; however we are committed to keeping members updated. Lastly but critically important is reaching the milestone of a member vote. In the end, it is you, our members, who will make the final decision on whether a merger is in the best interests of our communities, our employees and members.
For more information and updates, visit www.exploringstrengthandunity.ca.