The BC Room of the Crest Hotel was packed on the evening of April 15 as dozens of Northern Savings Credit Union members came out for the company’s 75th Annual General Meeting.
The previous year was one of growth for Northern Savings. The credit union saw its asset size grow by $82 million and loans increased by $80 million resulting in 9.1 and 12.9 per cent growth respectively. The level of deposits grew by$68 million, or 8.5 per cent, and now sits just under $860 million.
Operationally, interim chief executive officer Sharon Stromdahl said 2014 was a year in which Northern Savings Credit Union embraced technology through the launch of a Facebook page, revamping the webpage and allowing people to deposit a cheque using their smartphone. But perhaps the biggest change was a streamlining of how insurance is offered across the Northwest.
Doing business as efficiently as possible is important to us. We owned three insurance subsidiaries, one in Terrace being Paragon Insurance, one in Haida Gwaii named Key West Insurance and our own insurance company in Prince Rupert that is Northern Savings Insurance … this year we looked at amalgamating our insurance companies, so we put all three into one brand called Northern Savings Insurance Services,” she explained.
“By doing that we have been able to maximize our brand and ensure that regardless of what community you are going into or out of, you will be able to obtain the same business and service level.”
Reflecting on 2014, board chair Nirmal Parmar said one of the key accomplishments in 2014 was completely revamping the governance structure and increasing credit union oversight.
“The reason we did that is because the whole financial industry is in a state of flux and constantly changing, especially with the low prime rate. It has become a very, very cutthroat and very competitive industry. To stay afloat, never mind making money, is a challenge, so we have to make sure there is no room for any slack on the part of the board or the senior managers,” he said.
“We are making sure any investment in Northern Savings Credit Union is totally secure and looked after. This was a big effort from the board … we have put a lot of pressure on the board to make sure nothing is missed and nothing slips by.”