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Driving force

A snapshot of the growing economic and social impact of credit unions in Canada.

Canadian credit unions remain a multi-billion dollar force to be reckoned with.

The Canadian Credit Union Association recently released its 2018 Credit Union Community and Economic Impact Report tallying the influence of the country’s financial cooperatives. Not only do credit unions employ 58,000 Canadians either directly or indirectly but they contribute more than $6.5 billion, directly or indirectly, to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Other highlights include:

  • Canadian credit unions serve 7.2 million members outside of Quebec.
  • Credit unions and Centrals created 29,000 direct full-time jobs, adding $3.4 billion to the GDP.
  • Credit unions created 15,157 full-time indirect jobs, adding $1.5 billion to the GDP, as a result of services supplied to credit unions by other businesses.
  • Credit unions have 1,775 locations across the country and are the only financial institution in 395 Canadian communities.
  • Credit unions are leaders when it comes to gender parity, with women helming 34 percent of credit unions.
  • Credit union employees contribute 302,035 volunteer hours to their community annually.
  • On average, 5.4 percent of credit unions’ pre-tax income went to community donations and sponsorships. This is compared to less than one percent for Canada’s Big Five banks. This works out to $23.3 million in donations and $17.3 million in sponsorships in 2017.
  • Credit unions held 18.5 percent of Canada’s small business lending market in 2016.
  • Credit unions lent: $8.5 billion to the agriculture sector;  $124.5 billion in personal loans; and $55.8 in commercial lending. ◊