Community isn’t just a word at Squamish Savings. It’s both a philosophy and a raison d’être.
The local financial co-operative has been faithfully serving the needs of its Sea to Sky member-owners for 70 years, and is still dedicated to conducting business with integrity, innovation and community responsibility.
“In 1944, members of the local Elks and Farmers Institute met and decided that they should form a credit union,” explained Jennifer Schorz, branch manager. “A meeting of 14 was called to discuss the matter further, and after many meetings it was decided to form a credit union in Squamish. All 14 members signed as charter members, pledging themselves to purchase one $5 share each, and paying the entrance fee of 25 cents.”
In 2005, Squamish Savings partnered with the Vancity Credit Union, enabling members to benefit from the products and services of one of Canada’s 50 Best Corporate Citizens.
“Being a division of Canada’s largest community credit union, Vancity gives us access to assets to help improve the financial wellbeing of our members while at the same time helping to develop a healthy, sustainable Sea to Sky community,” said Schorz.
And throughout all its growth, Squamish Savings has never lost focus on its mandate to help develop much more than just financial stability.
“As a values-based financial co-operative, Squamish Savings is committed to transforming how banking is done so we can help our members and the Squamish community thrive financially, socially and environmentally,” she said. “We aren’t doing this alone. Our members are as much a part of this as we are. There are no shareholders other than our members, and with their deposits we can place the right tools in the hands of individuals and organizations to make our world a better place.”
Squamish Savings devotes much of its focus on social and financial inclusion, environmental sustainability and co-operative economy; initiating programs for bursaries, community branch grants, community project grants, sponsorships, and the Squamish Credit Union Legacy Fund.
“With our members’ support we contributed over $158,000 to local businesses and organizations in 2013, building our Squamish community,” said Schorz. “Our co-operative values help us serve our members and communities through investing and lending with positive impact; we pay a living wage and take many other steps to serve our members and their communities. More so, we are proud to share profits with our members.”
“We truly want our members and community to succeed, after all, Squamish is our home town, too.”
Squamish Savings’ unique business model sees a 30 per cent return of the institution’s net revenues back to its members and the community.
“We truly want our members and community to succeed,” she said. “After all, Squamish is our home town, too. Our staff and members want to do business with an organization that not only meets their in-the-moment financial service needs, but also takes into account their long-term wellbeing. We know their success is built on the ability to be part of a healthy community that creates wealth, provides employment, and is sustainable and inclusive.”