TORONTO, Jan. 27, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today we are pleased to announce the formation of a new national trade association – the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA) –created to represent Canada’s credit unions and caisses populaires (outside of Quebec). It is the first, national credit union governed organization in Canada, distinct in its commitment to co-operative values.

The CCUA is owned and directed by its members – 316 credit unions and caisses populaires[i] with more than $185.7 billion in assets. These credit unions and caisses populaires serve over 5.57 million members; from more than 1,817 locations across Canada; are governed by more than 2,800 volunteer directors; and employ more than 28,500 Canadians. For more information, read our National System Results.

More than 5 million Canadians trust their local credit union as their partner for day-to-day banking. Banking with a credit union keeps money in their pockets, while helping Main Street and small businesses prosper. While each credit union is independent, democratic and locally controlled by its member owners, all credit unions share a common bond: a dedication to the people and communities they serve. While other financial institutions focus on providing profits to shareholders, credit unions’ purpose is to provide service to members. This extends to innovations that promote prosperity and quality of life. Locally, this spirit drives community economic development, supports members’ financial empowerment and a wide-range of philanthropic contributions. Together, credit unions contribute to the Canadian economy, making billions of dollars available that can be invested in jobs and growth. Read our Credit Union Community and Economic Impact Report to learn more.

The new association’s mandate and priorities are focused on: national advocacy, regulatory compliance, professional development and education, and building awareness about the credit union difference.

“The creation of the Canadian Credit Union Association and the transfer of the assets of the former Credit Union Central of Canada, comes at an important time: through a shared vision of success, credit unions have never been better positioned to create a more vibrant future for Canadians — one that is built on the strengths and diversity of co-operative finance,” says Martha Durdin, president and CEO, Canadian Credit Union Association.

The CCUA is governed by an elected board of credit union CEOs from across the country, and chaired by Stephen Bolton, President & CEO of Libro Credit Union. “This new Association better reflects our role as an industry leader for a successful, competitive and growing credit union system. There has never been a better time to create a bigger, bolder future for the Canadian credit union system – a future built on the unique difference and values that make credit unions an integral part of our local communities and significant contributor to the national economy.” Canadian Credit Union Association Board Chair, Stephen Bolton.