Top 10 Biggest Credit Unions in Canada by Total Assets (2023/2024 Updated)

Top 10 Biggest Credit Unions in Canada by Total Assets (2023/2024 Updated)

Financial organizations called credit unions offer many of the same goods and services that banks do. This covers a wide range of financial products, such as credit cards, mortgages, lines of credit, and many others.

Credit Union Customers Are Owners: This is possibly the most significant distinction between a credit union and a bank. The majority of Canadian banks, particularly the big five, are owned by their shareholders, so they exist to further their interests. The owners of credit unions are the credit union’s members. A credit union’s entire operation is geared toward providing better service to its members. In actuality, as soon as you join a credit union, you take on ownership!

Credit Unions Are Non-Profit: Generally speaking, banks exist to maximize profits for their owners, or shareholders. Credit unions don’t pursue profits; instead, they are committed to providing their members with competitively priced financial products and a range of profit-sharing options.

Banks Are More Accessible Than Credit Unions: Accessibility is a key distinction between credit unions and banks. While virtually any adult who is a legal resident of Canada can open a bank account, there are additional requirements you must meet before joining a credit union.

The earliest known credit union dates to 1852 in Germany.

In 1900, a journalist named Alphonse Desjardins established the first credit union in North America, which was also known as Caisse Populaires or People’s Bank.

There are 231 credit unions in Canada that serve more than 5.9 million members, according to the Canadian Credit Union Association.

Additionally, the Desjardins Group comprises 219 Caisses Populaires, the majority of which are situated in Quebec and Ontario and provide services to nearly 5 million members.

Canada currently has 212 credit unions. This reflects a 6% decline from a year ago. There were 1,677 branches for these credit unions in all of Canada.

• Credit Unions Total Assets: $282 billion (2023)

• Credit Unions Total Deposits: $231 billion (2023)

• Credit Unions Total Loans: $242 billion (2023)

• Total Credit Union Membership: 5.9 million (increase of 0.6%)

A list of every credit union in Canada is available from the Canadian Credit Union Association. Two times a year, the top 100 credit unions are ranked according to asset size.The 10-largest credit unions (excluding Quebec) were:

Higher Interest Rates: Although they might not be as competitive as the rates offered by online-only banks, the interest rates paid on savings and other deposits are typically higher than those offered by big banks. Additionally, credit unions may offer interest on the balance of your chequing account.

Lower Fees: Compared to the big banks, they charge fewer and lower account maintenance and service fees. Chequing accounts with no fees and banking services without a minimum balance are typically available to members.

Having said that, during my in-depth research into 15 or so Canadian credit unions, I observed that some of them actually had fees that rivalled traditional banks.

Better Rates: Credit unions offer personal loans, mortgages and credit at competitive rates.

Customer Service: Credit unions outperform their rivals at offering individualized, in-person customer service. The fact that Canada’s credit unions have won the top prizes in the Ipsos Financial Service Excellence Awards for Customer service for 18 years in a row as of 2022 is understandable.

Community Development: Credit unions fund local community initiatives that indirectly benefit their members. Many of them support initiatives that advance sustainability, combat poverty, and aid marginalized minorities.

Most credit unions in Canada are subject to provincial regulation. For instance, in Ontario, they are governed by the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario and the Financial Services Commission of Ontario in accordance with the province’s Credit Unions and Caisse Populaires Act. The deposits of members are guaranteed by a deposit insurance corporation, which all credit unions are members of.

Each province has a deposit insurer whose job it is to protect the money that credit union members deposit with them. These deposit insurance corporations are also in charge of ensuring a secure credit union system and monitoring compliance with solvency regulations.

Members of credit unions benefit from deposit protection that typically goes beyond what traditional banks provide.

These provincial organizations provide deposit insurance:

Alberta: Alberta Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (100% guarantee).

British Columbia: Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation of B.C. (100% guarantee).

Manitoba: Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba (100% guarantee).

New Brunswick: New Brunswick Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (up to $250,000).

Newfoundland & Labrador: Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation (up to $250,000).

Nova Scotia: Nova Scotia Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (up to $250,000).

Ontario: Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (up to $250,000 and unlimited for registered accounts).

Prince Edward Island: Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation of PEI (up to $125,000 and 100% for registered plans).

Saskatchewan: Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Saskatchewan (100% guarantee).

Quebec: Autorite des Marches Financiers (up to $100,000).

Credit unions are financial cooperatives owned by their members. An autonomous association of people joined voluntarily to address their shared economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise is what the International Co-operative Alliance defines as a co-operative.

The seven cooperative principles listed below offer guidance on how a credit union should be run:

Voluntary and open membership

Democratic member control

Member economic participation

Autonomy and independence

Education, Training and Information

Cooperation among cooperatives

Concern for community

All members of a credit union have a say in how the credit union operates. A volunteer Board of elected Directors assists the Chief Executive officer, who runs the day-to-day business.

You must meet the eligibility requirements to become a member of a credit union.

Generally, provincially regulated credit unions (the majority of credit unions) require that you:

→ Are at least the age of the majority in your province (i.e. 18 or 19 years or older)

→ Are a resident of the province*

→ Are willing to buy an equity share in the credit union (costs $5 to $25)

→ Have not declared bankruptcy in the past 7 years

Each member has an equal say in the election of the Board of Directors.

*Federally incorporated credit unions accept anyone who is a resident of Canada.

You become a member and a stakeholder in the organization once you open an account with a credit union.

You can participate in the organization’s governance as a member by casting a vote to choose the board of directors.

Due to this, joining a credit union frequently has requirements.

Even though each credit union has its own requirements, the majority of them demand the same details to open a bank account, including proper identification and a financial background.

The majority of credit unions also demand that you contribute a small sum of money to the organization, typically through a share purchase program.

This purchase might only cost a few dollars at times.

Since most credit unions are regional in nature, many of them will insist that you live in the area in which they do business.

Transaction fees, interest on loans, mortgages, and credit card purchases made by their members are how credit unions generate revenue. Credit unions report to their members, as opposed to banks, which answer to shareholders.

Depending on the amount of annual profit it makes, a credit union may distribute dividends to its members, donate to charities and community projects in the area, award scholarships, and reinvest some of its earnings in expanding operations and member services.

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The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has listed the top credit unions in the United States in order of total assets.

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