Equity Credit Union Inc. celebrated its 80th anniversary on April 12, 2023. Our Members, Staff, Management and Directors convened at the Ajax Convention Centre and enjoyed an excellent celebration in this elegant venue. We occupied two conference rooms and hosted 251 members and guests including representatives of FSRA, our legal counsel and auditors. A buffet dinner was enjoyed by all.
The agenda included the Chair’s welcome, reports from the Board, CEO, Senior Lending Officer, the Audit Committee and our Auditor. Two Directors were re-elected and one new Director was elected. In accordance with requirements to repeal the existing By-laws and replace them to comply with the new Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, the revised By-laws were reviewed by Penny-Lynn Rintoul, Legal Counsel, and replaced by a vote of the members. Draws for prizes donated by vendors were a highlight at the close of the meeting.
Looking back over 80 years dating back to 1942 – the middle of World War II – there have been many stories to tell. One is our commitment to members through good times and bad, most recently during the pandemic from March 2020 almost through 2022, with the staff’s unwavering commitment, 146 borrowing members were assisted resulting in no defaults.
The story of our progress and growth from inception as Lever Brothers Credit Union at the Lever Brothers Soap Factory up to the present day is nostalgic and inspiring. Founded by the employees at the plant then located at the foot of the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, it served the employees and members for many years and began with “no-fee” banking. In 2002 the credit union, known at that time as Unilever Employees Credit Union, moved down the road to Eastern Avenue to stay close to the plant in order to serve the many members still employed there. And, at that time, we became an open-bond credit union inviting anyone in our community to join us. In July 2004, our
name became Equity Credit Union Inc. Following the 2008 global financial crisis, the Board and Management made the decision to relocate once again to seek a better opportunity and growth. After an extensive search, in July 2010 we settled comfortably in Ajax, Ontario a fast-growing family residential setting in eastern Ontario. With hard work, best practices, excellent products and services and no-fee banking we started to grow and pick up speed and over the next 12 years made excellent financial progress culminating in the 2022 results which we were so proud to report at our 80th annual general meeting.
Here is a sample of some of the figures attached to our success in 2022 which was realized through the total team effort of the Board, Staff and Management:
22% growth, $3 million profit, 5.35% leverage capital ratio, 19.5% risk weighted assets ratio, 10.6% liquidity
- Net membership increased by 300 members in 2022 and from 1,592 in 2010 to 3,963 in 2022.
- Assets increased from $139,200,000 in 2018 to $342,402,495 in 2022. Over the past five years the credit union’s assets increased in excess of 20% each year.
- Profit increased from $1,617,000 in 2018 to $3,034,000 in 2022.
- Member deposits increased from $126,900,000 in 2018 to $319,400,000 in 2022.
- The credit union wrote off only $2,308 in bad debt expense in 2022.
- Capital growth increased 20% from $15,282,000 in 2021 to $18,323,000 in 2022.
- Total lending increased by $181,264,566 from $126,156,172 in 2018 to $307,420,738 in 2022.
- Once again the Board was very happy and proud to declare a dividend to members for the year 2022.
These results were on the back of a very successful year in 2021 when our balance sheet grew by $71,700,000 or 34 percent from 2020.
Equity Credit Union is looking forward to 2023 and beyond as a one-stop, no-fee financial institution continuing to grow and serve members in the Greater Toronto core and in the Durham Region area. We will continue to provide excellent service and financial advice to members while being mindful of a potential risk of recession and its possible impact on our members.
Gilbert G., one of our longstanding members, stated that he has been a member of the credit union for 55 years, joining at the time when it was the Lever Brothers Credit Union. He recommended highly that members get their kids involved and become members, as well as friends and family, and he congratulated this Board, previous Boards and the staff for their hard work and accomplishments. He closed saying to all members that they are in good hands with Equity Credit Union.
In closing, Larry Biancolin, Chair of the Board of Directors, and Tom Dimson, CEO, thanked the members, as well as the community Equity Credit Union serves, for their trust and patronage over the years. The ongoing sound financial support and advice our credit union provides to its membership go a long way in the cooperative spirit.