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Reimagining Credit Unions: The Federal Option, Lessons from Europe, and Digital Lending

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Presented by Filene and the Canadian Credit Union Association 


Please click on the speakers name to be directed to their symposium handouts:

Glenn Campbell is director of the financial sector policy branch at the Canadian Department of Finance. He is responsible for overseeing the development of policy analysis and recommendations related to the federally-regulated financial sector, including the evolving federal credit union framework.  Mr. Campbell will discuss the federal credit union’s framework and the federal government’s perspectives on the sector.

Corporate culture matters. In a case study of Swiss bank Handelsbankenn, Dr. Dennis Campbell, a professor at Harvard Business School, shows how the bank has generated above average profitability throughout its history because of, a strong corporate culture and unique compensation scheme that allows the $369 billion bank to decentralize decision-making structure in a way that would be difficult for most financial institutions to imagine.

When members see how much work it takes to make them happy, it makes them happier. Dr. Ryan Buell, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, shows how operational transparency, giving consumers a window into the work performed by an organization, can have a positive impact on how they view the organization (think a parcel tracker at Canada Post or UPS).  Dr. Buell will also share early findings from working with deploying “operational transparency” approaches at U.S. and Canadian credit unions.

The future of lending is digital. Whether with credit unions, banks, or disruptive fintech firms, Dr. Sean Geobey, an assistant professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise and Development at the University of Waterloo and Director of Academic Programs at the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience, shares his research into marketplacing lending and leads a roundtable discussion with credit unions that have partnered with or developed their own online lending platforms.  Included in this panel was Tara McKowen, Conexus Credit Union, Ben Morales, QCash Financial, and Guy Kutany, Central 1 Credit Union.

Effective credit union governance depends on more than just what boards do. Dionne Pohler, an assistant professor at the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto and Fellow of Co-operative Strategy and Governance at the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives at the University of Saskatchewan, will share her research on credit union governance, exploring the challenges that arise from both the co-operative mission and values of credit unions as well as increasing regulatory requirements and stakeholder demands for “professionalization” of credit union boards.

The Canadian federal credit union option has arrived, this time for real. David Losier, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Uni Financial Cooperation, a credit union that serves the francophone community in New Brunswick, discusses how and why his credit union became the first in the country to take up the federal credit union option since it first became available in 2012

Co-operative banking really is better for communities. Drawing on her knowledge of the German co-operative banking system and academic as well as policy research, Stefanie Schulte from the German Co-Operative Association RWGV will discuss how the structure of the German co-operative banking system and how it supports the country’s resilient economic model through lending to small and medium-sized businesses and the local economies more generally.