The second largest credit union in BC is applying to become a bank. Coast Capital Savings (@500k members at @$16B in assets) has made an application to the provincial regulator, FICOM, for permission to be continued under The Bank Act as a federally incorporated entity. FICOM is requesting public input, so let's encourage people to write. [Added: CCEC submission Mar 28, 2017.]
The Bank Act was amended three years ago to allow for 'federal credit unions' as a type of bank. The federal government has taken other steps to induce or coerce larger credit unions to move to that jurisdiction. Coast is the first from BC to move down this path, a special resolution was put to that credit union membership in November, with very little supporting information and no real debate. Now, FICOM has to review the proposal.
A more complete explanation may be found at www.cufutures.ca A blog post there outlines many concerns.(other information is at www.governancewatch.ca )
But two big questions arise;
- Are credit unions not inherently local, self-help responses to a big national bank oligopoly? This conversion abandons the model of a network of locally based, democratically controlled financial co-ops.
- And will the departure of these large credit unions undermine the viability of the real credit unions that remain? We must ensure the legacy of several generations, the credit unions of BC, are not undermined and placed at risk.