How your credit union mortgage can benefit community initiatives

Did you know that credit unions are collectively Canada’s second-biggest mortgage lender? In 2021 alone, they held a total of $131 billion in residential mortgages across the country. Did you also know that instead of just “customers” they have “members” who share in the ownership and benefits of their credit union?

overhead view of downtown Winnipeg with a sunset in the background

Unlike big banks that focus on paying profits to shareholders, credit unions are co-operatives that focus on offering members more attractive financial products and services, including flexible mortgages. But they also offer wider benefits; with ACU, for example, profits are redirected into community initiatives.
We asked some ACU mortgage experts how a credit union mortgage can benefit members and the local community.

Marsharee Lindsay, Financial Advisor

Credit unions invest in their members

“At ACU, we look at your entire financial picture before recommending a mortgage,” says Marsharee Lindsay, Financial Advisor at ACU’s Pembina branch. “We want to help improve your whole financial situation, so we’ll look at the most appropriate type of mortgage for you.”

Marsharee explains how ACU’s philosophy is different. “We’re not just selling you a product. We look at how your mortgage will fit in with your other debts, your savings goals and your insurance needs. It’s not a case of us saying, ‘Here’s a mortgage that will work.’ We’re taking the time to ensure your mortgage supports your long-term financial plan.”

Jay De Leon, Financial Advisor

Jay De Leon, Financial Advisor at ACU’s Garden City branch, agrees. “As a local credit union, all of our decisions are made locally. This means our mortgage approvals are much faster than other banks and lenders whose head offices are outside of Manitoba. We can approve a mortgage in a couple of days and deal with any issues quickly,” he explains.

Glenda Bahalla, Assistant Branch Manager

This local aspect of a credit union mortgage is also crucial to Glenda Bahalla, Assistant Branch Manager at ACU’s Henderson branch.

“Having a mortgage and investments with a local credit union instead of the bank means your money is being invested in your local community,” Glenda says. “This allows us as a credit union to give more back to our community.”

A more personalized, flexible mortgage

Credit unions, and ACU in particular, tailor mortgages to individuals and the specifics of mortgages in their communities.

A woman stands in a home or condo holding a moving box, smiling brightly. Other boxes surround her.

A wide range of specialized mortgages are available, depending on a member’s needs.

For example, ACU offers an Islamic mortgage, which few other lenders do. Created in partnership with the Muslim community, an Islamic mortgage is a faith-compliant product that enables home ownership for many ACU members.

Our Manitoba Islamic Mortgage is custom built for you

There’s also a newcomer mortgage, which considers different sources of payment history and allows newcomers to purchase a home with a minimum down payment of 5%. ACU also supports the Manitoba Tipi Mitawa program aimed at first-time Indigenous homeowners.

If you’ve found a fixer-upper with a lot of potential, ACU’s Purchase Plus Improve Mortgage lets you include some renovation costs in your mortgage. We also offer the Builder’s Mortgage, which allows you to construct your home and pay for it in stages as it gets built, and the Vacation Property Mortgage for cottages or getaways within Manitoba.

Dedicated to the local community

Credit unions are member-owned, so they’re not beholden to stakeholders, which allows them more flexibility in how they invest their profits.

For example, ACU reinvests money in the local community through a variety of initiatives, including:

  • The Jubilee Fund, which provides assistance to women securing stable housing for independent and safe living, while fostering belonging and community.
  • United Way Winnipeg, which empowers people by delivering money management and financial literacy workshops.
  • Trees Winnipeg, which is helping to preserve Winnipeg’s tree canopy and promote species diversification.

ACU’s sustainability efforts are well-documented, including being Manitoba’s first carbon-neutral credit union and the first Canadian organization to procure Fairtrade Certified offsets.

Learn more about ACU’s commitment to positively impacting our customers, communities and planet.

Additionally, ACU is recognized as a B Corp and one of Manitoba’s Top Employers, and has been awarded the Spirit of Winnipeg Award from the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce in the Energy and Environment category.

ACU also has a number of ongoing sustainability initiatives, such as e-waste recycling and composting partnerships with Mother Earth Recycling and Compost Winnipeg. The credit union is also piloting a corporate membership program with Peg City Car Co-op, allowing employees to commute to work via a carshare program. In addition, a new greenhouse gas management service, called Carbon Hound, is helping ACU understand energy consumption and paper usage at branches.

All of these initiatives are part of ACU’s triple-bottom-line commitment to people, planet and prosperity. When you get a mortgage from a credit union, you can feel good knowing you’re contributing to your community and the world at large.

Help with improving your financial knowledge

As an Assistant Branch Manager who looks at the bigger picture, Glenda explains that ACU’s commitment to its members goes beyond lending.

“We also provide financial education and counselling. It’s important to educate our members so they understand the financial options they have and are better equipped to make the right choices.”

Glenda regularly provides financial education on topics such as:

  • The variety of credit union mortgage options available to members
  • Investment opportunities
  • How to save for a down payment
  • Helping your kids pay for their education
  • Building savings for retirement

related articles

Why choose a credit union instead of a bank?

Is it time to switch your mortgage from a bank to a credit union?

Canadians are appreciating these advantages when getting a mortgage from a credit union vs. a bank. Mortgage growth for credit unions outpaced the big banks in 2022 and shows no signs of slowing down.

Learn more about ACU’s mortgages, including details on buying a new home, renewing, refinancing and obtaining specialty mortgages. Of course, we’d also love to chat or meet with you in person at your nearest branch.

Book an appointment with an ACU financial advisor to learn more about the advantages of getting a mortgage from a credit union. Or call us at 1.877.958.8588. That’s money doing more.

About James Burns

James Burns is a freelance writer and copywriter. With a background in journalism, financial services and marketing, he writes for a wide range of companies across the financial services spectrum. His articles and blogs provide financial advice and insights to both consumers and businesses.

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