Company: LaHave River Credit Union
Location: Bridgewater, Nova Scotia
Industry: Cooperative Banking
Size: Small business (12 employees)
“We want to make decisions that are in the best interest of our members and our community. Yes, we need to make a profit. We need to pay our bills. But that’s not the be-all and end-all.”
– Corey Rogers
CEO, LaHave River Credit Union
LaHave River Credit Union's purpose
Providing value-driven financial and social leadership to their members and community.
All in the community
The LaHave River Credit Union is a bank, plus. They are similar to a bank but rather than being owned by shareholders they are directly owned by their customers, who become members of the credit union. Members have equal voting rights, and all decisions are made locally for the benefit of their members, staff and the community in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
As well, a portion of the credit union’s profits are given back to members every year in their rebate or dividend account, which members are free to draw from at any time.
“We offer pretty much all the same products and services as the banks do, but it’s the way we offer them that’s different. Our members are everything to us, they are what drive us. We want to be fair to them, we want to be equitable, we want to give back to them and provide the best products and service that we can,” says Corey Rogers,CEO of LaHave River Credit Union.
A fairer loan
LaHave River Credit Union’s purpose plays a key role in developing new products for members.
An example of their purpose in action is their new payday loan alternative, launching later this year. This product aims to help people avoid the high interest rates and high fees that come with using ‘payday’ lenders by providing easy access to an overdraft with much lower interest rates. The overdraft will be linked to Each One Teach One, a financial literacy program that LaHave River Credit Union offers.
“It comes down to getting them out of the payday loan cycle, paying those very high interest rates. Removing them from that cycle, and with the financial literacy component, hopefully getting them on a better financial track,” says Corey Rogers, CEO of LaHave River Credit Union.
Purpose as a compelling selling proposition
LaHave River Credit Union’s purpose shows up throughout the business, and is represented by their Compelling Selling Proposition (CSP): a philosophy based on the values of fairness and trust. The CSP was developed by Atlantic Central, who provide liquidity management, payments processing and trade association services that support the credit unions of Atlantic Canada.
The CSP guides the actions of the credit union staff in their relationships with members and the community. It also guides their decision making and business strategy. “Everything we do for our strategic initiatives is looking at how can we help the member,” says Rogers. “We want to make decisions that are in the best interest of our members and our community. Yes, we need to make a profit. We need to pay our bills. But that’s not the be-all and end-all.” Rogers says that he can also see the CSP in action with the “extra oomph” staff have when they’re talking to members.
Rogers credits their purpose and CSP with helping them grow, which in turn benefits their members and the community. “People are coming here because of our CSP and what they are hearing about us,” he says. “The more members we have, the more that we can give back in potential rebates, and the more that we can give back to our community at large.”
And many people in Bridgewater like what they are experiencing at LaHave River Credit Union. In fact, they have grown so much since introducing the CSP that the credit union has run out of room in their present location and Rogers is busy with plans to expand to a larger location.