Conexus donates over $850,000 back into Southern Saskatchewan communities

May 19, 2022, 11:24 am
Sierra D'Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Conexus Credit Union branch in Moosomin.

Over the last five years, Conexus Credit Union has donated over $850,000 into Southern Saskatchewan communities.

Through its Community Investment Program, Conexus donated over $90,000 back into Southern Saskatchewan communities in 2021 alone.

“The purpose of the program is to invest back into the community, our pillars are really around supporting peoples’ well-being, which ultimately contributes to our purpose of financial well-being for our members and communities,” said Nicole Westerlund, Vice-President of Marketing and Member Engagement.

“We are often looking for ways to invest in initiatives that contribute to overall well-being, which we believe leads to the next step of financial well-being.”

Westerlund said the donations to communities over the last five years have helped individuals in rural Saskatchewan.

“I think the last five years has been an interesting period of time, but it’s been positive, we have partnered with a number of different organizations throughout the communities and I think it creates positivity, economic impact, volunteerism, and just a general commitment to our communities that we are always going to be giving back through our community investment program.”

She said the amount Conexus donates each year varies based on the Credit Union’s annual income.

“Our budget does adjust year over year, and it’s based on our own income, that’s why where you bank really does matter, and when the community invests into Conexus, we are able to then invest back into the community,” Westerlund said.

“Our investments do change year over year, and what we try to do is balance throughout the community where we can best, looking into all the communities we operate in and serve our members in, and try to give back there. It varies, absolutely year to year, but we always do have a very intentional focus on communities across the province.”

Each year, Conexus donates up to 5 per cent of its pre-tax profits back into the community.

The percentage is decided by its Board and Community Investment Policy, and is “well above Image Canada’s recommendation of 1% of pre-taxed profits.”

Westerlund was asked if Conexus has any plans for increasing the percentage of pre-tax profits that are put back into the community.

“Absolutely, I think it really does depend on what happens with our membership and the investments into Conexus,” she said.

“It’s a little bit of a unique situation where we don’t really have a standing amount of dollars, we look at our income and then we allocate based on that.

“Over the past five years that’s changed, up and down, based on the current economic environment. We’re optimistic for increasing in the future years for sure, if we see an economic recovery.”

Conexus supporting the MCC centre in Moosomin
Westerlund spoke about why Conexus chose to support the Moosomin Conexus Convention Centre.

“It’s really important for us to focus on the communities that we’re in, where our members work, and we want to support the capital projects that are helping to contribute to the overall well-being in the community,” she said.

“That project is one that aligns and works with our purpose and our values, which I also thinks works for the community in Moosomin as well, so it’s a win win.”

She was asked why communities in Southern Saskatchewan received $850,000 over the last few years, compared to other areas in the province.

“One of the things I think that is the most unique, is that we operate all over the province, we have 30 locations across the province, but we also have members everywhere ,” said Westerlund.

“We know that banking is something you can do in your backyard, you don’t have to be in a branch, and we like to support the communities where we operate and where our members are.

“We want to make sure we’re giving back to the members that are supporting and banking with us, and I think that’s why we’re investing in the Southern region, including some of those communities that are part of our investments.

“The other piece I would say is that it does change, there’s a number of different initiatives and the opportunity to support multiple organizations is exciting for us to contribute to.”

Making investments back to the community is fundamental for Conexus, Westerlund said.

“It comes down to being a credit union, we are a little different than the big banks, we are a co-orperative organization, we’re the credit union who started over 80 years ago, and really started with the intention of pooling resources to improve the economy and to improve the community, and that’s what we’re doing today,” she said.

“It’s really a foundation that we’ve been built on for decades, and it’s something we will continue with into the future. It’s part of building the community and part of contributing to the economic impact, and really the strength and sustainability of the province overall.

“It’s something we’re really passionate about, something we’re excited about. We love to be involved with communities all across Southern Saskatchewan.”