Credit unions have long positioned themselves as alternatives to banks, especially for services related to investments and new technologies.

In Canada, a credit union offering the same services as a big commercial bank can be a preferred alternative for those looking to manage their

Credit unions were founded on the principle of communal financing to help consumers who couldn’t get loans from banks. They largely operate as for-purpose organizations, meaning that they are deeply rooted in community involvement. Members collectively own them and assume voting rights.

Despite being in business for decades, credit unions sometime struggle to communicate that they offer the same financial well-being larger banks do. A key differentiator at Prospera Credit Union is that all of their wealth management staff are Certified Financial Planners who offer holistic financial planning services and insurance for businesses and families.

Speed and innovation the key differences

Given their smaller size, credit unions are more nimble, with flexible decision-making, according to Diane Dou, COO at Prospera. This helps them adopt new services and technologies meaning they are able to pursue partnerships with fintech companies and roll out innovative solutions in months rather than years.

“We were the very first credit union in Canada to go with a virtual wealth platform to trade through computers and mobile devices,” Dou says. “We live in a time where bigger is not necessarily better and the fast beat the slow. While we are not as big as banks, we aim to be the quickest and most innovative organization while having our members’ best interests at heart.”

By mixing a hands-on approach with virtual tools, members enjoy a full-service banking experience. For example, Prospera representatives can do business at a hockey rink where a member’s children play. This supports their goal to be the trusted home for families and local businesses, bringing them a private banking experience.

Additionally, the credit union adopted a virtual auto-adjudication platform to slash the time it takes to get a loan. Dou notes that the majority of people under 55 do their banking online. “It’s important to offer innovative products and services that allow people to do their banking whenever and wherever, they want,” she says. “Millennials are young and energetic, and want something new. Time-poor small business owners want easy and convenient solutions.”

There’s something for everyone when customization and financial institutions converge. Speak with a Prospera advisor today to explore your options.