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Ukrainian Credit Union Limited: 80 Years Young. UCU AGM hears Credit Union’s 2023 results

May 2, 2024 | Community, Featured, Business

Current and former members of UCU's Board of Directors cut the 80th anniversary cake at the AGM on April 23.


Established in the midst of the Second World War, Ukrainian Credit Union Limited is nearing its 80th jubilee. Despite its respectable age, the credit union is radiating the same spirit of vitality and innovation as it did when it was chartered in July 1944. At UCU’s AGM on April 23, the shareholders greeted an 80-year-young financial cooperative that has withstood the test of time, continues to show great business results, and remains the pillar of the community.

The shadow of russia’s brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been hanging over the Ukrainian Canadian community for over two years, and UCU has leveraged its eight decades of experience to navigate this challenge that is similar to the one it faced in the immediate post-war period. These days, just like in the 1940s, UCU is assisting a wave of migrants from Ukraine who are looking for security and peace in Canada. The technical progress now allows current Ukrainian newcomers to digitally join UCU even before they arrive in Canada. But the welcome that UCU extends to them is just as warm, respectful and attentive as it was all those decades ago. “It’s in our DNA,” says UCU’s 2023 Annual Report. The credit union believes that all those thousands of its newest members from war-torn Ukraine, even those who remain in Canada, will not be lost to Ukraine and the Ukrainian cause. Rather, they will help fill UCU with new energy and excitement.

Taras Pidzamecky, UCU CEO, speaks at the UCU AGM

The past year has been marked by a rather volatile business environment for UCU. After a year of record asset growth in 2022, the credit union moderated the expansion of its balance sheet in 2023 to adjust to the unexpectedly prolonged high-interest rate environment with resulting tighter cash conditions. UCU focused on servicing the borrowing and investment needs of its existing members and those forced to leave Ukraine. This was achieved by further accelerating UCU’s digital transformation which allowed the financial cooperative to remain attractive and competitive. UCU continued to meet member residential mortgage demand, providing its newcomers with accessible financial services and essential credit facilities, while prudently restraining its balance sheet growth after significant expansion in recent years.

Dr. Natalia Lishchyna, Chair of UCU Board of Directors, speaks at the UCU AGM

Notwithstanding restrained growth, at year-end, UCU remained among the top 50 largest credit unions in Canada, the 14th largest in Ontario, and the largest Ukrainian financial co-operative in Canada in membership, branch network and asset size. In 2023, assets increased by $20.7 million (1.66%) to $1.268 billion, members’ deposits grew $25.1 million (2.38%) to $1.077 billion, while loans to members decreased slightly by $5.6 million (0.50%) to $1.111 billion. Net income for 2023 after taxes distributions to members, and a small loan loss recovery detailed below, came in at $2.108 million (vs. $4.561 million in 2022).

During 2023, UCU continued to pursue its three-pronged program of responding to russia’s illegal and brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Firstly, in keeping with its eight-decade vision of Building Community, UCU continued to support organized Ukrainian community life in Ontario so that it remains strong and resilient in the face of new challenges. Secondly, the credit union extended its Welcome Ukraine program for thousands of newly arriving Ukrainians under the CUAET program, helping them establish a financial base in Canada. At year-end 2023, over 3,300 CUAET individuals and families had an active UCU connection giving them access to three years of banking services free of service charges, use of over 900 credit cards, and over $1 million dollars in loans advanced for the purchase of cars and to cover settlement costs.

Last but not least, the in-house UCU Helps Ukraine initiative, spearheaded by volunteers from the UCU Wealth Services Group, continued to mobilize generous UCU member support for humanitarian and material aid to Ukraine’s military and civilians. Since 2015, UCU Helps Ukraine has raised over $1.232 million.
UCU also remains mindful of supporting the broader Canadian community of which it is an integral part, while also gratefully acknowledging Canadians from all walks of life, as well as all levels of government, for their ongoing and generous support of Ukraine in its existential fight to preserve its nationhood and people.

With files from UCU

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