Vancity's annual report reveals growth in total assets and membership along with slight dip in operating revenue

It responded quickly to the pandemic by offering mortgage deferrals and zero-percent credit-card interest to those suffering economically

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      Canada's largest community credit union has reported decent financial results for 2020, notwithstanding an economically crippling pandemic.

      Last year, Vancity's assets jumped 7.6 percent to $24.9 billion. And its total assets, including those under administration, exceeded $30 billion for the first time in its history.

      Over the same period, the credit union's total membership rose by 7,000 to reach 550,000 for the first time.

      However, operating income fell 3.7 percent from $507 million in 2019 to $490 million in 2020. And net income attributable to members declined from $61 million in 2019 to $46.3 million last year.

      Because Vancity returns 30 percent of annual net income to members and the broader community, it means that $13.9 million will come back in these dividends.

      “2020 was one of the most challenging years in decades, with drastic impacts to economies all over the world,” Vancity president and CEO Christine Bergeron said in a news release. “We entered the crisis in a position of strength following many years of sustained growth, enabling us to respond quickly to the pandemic.”

      Vancity president and CEO Christine Bergeron was featured on the Straight cover after announcing plans to implement a carbon-neutral loan portfolio by 2040.

      Credit union responded to crisis

      A year ago today, Vancity announced that it was cutting credit card interest rates to zero percent for those enduring financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

      After the pandemic was declared, Vancity also partnered with the Vancouver Foundation, United Way Lower Mainland, and the City of Vancouver in creating the Community Response Fund to assist organizations providing frontline services to those disproportionately affected by COVID-19. 

      In addition, Vancity offered financial supports for businesses and allowed members to defer mortgage payments for up to six months during the pandemic.

      “Vancity offered unprecedented and unrivalled levels of support to our members and communities when it mattered the most," Vancity board chair Jan O'Brien said in the news release. "I look forward with confidence as our three-year business strategy is implemented and we continue to deliver financial, social and environmental impact for our members.”

      Vancity is currently holding its annual election to its board of directors. This year, four positions are open and voting continues until April 23. Read about the candidates here.