WFCU Growing on its Strengths

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Windsor Star/Dave Hall

Windsor's attitude and fighting spirit set the region apart from the rest of Canada, says the chief executive officer of the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation.

Economic jurisdictions across Canada all boast good schools, strong post-secondary institutions, locations close to major markets, experience in logistics and a skilled workforce, former Liberal cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello told the Windsor Family Credit Union's annual general meeting Tuesday evening.

"So we have to find something that differentiates us from the rest and it's our attitude," said Pupatello. "What has brought us out of the other side of a recession is what will determine our future and I can already see signs that it's having a positive effect on the companies we bring to this region."

Attracting companies from new sectors such as nutraceuticals, information technology and health sciences is proof the region is on the right track playing up its strengths, she said. It is that same approach which has helped the WFCU achieve unprecedented growth, said president and CEO Marty Komsa. "We recognized (13 years ago) that millions of Canadians were placing their trust and faith in credit unions and moving away from other financial institutions so we launched a very aggressive marketing strategy to take advantage of that shift."

At that time, the WFCU had 19,200 members and $410 million in loans and deposits, he said. It now has 32,000 members and more than $2.2 billion in loans and deposits. "Given the turbulent times the economy has gone through in the past six years or so, five-fold growth is remarkable," said Komsa.

He also reported the credit union earned $4.5 million in profits in its most recent fiscal year. Assets increased by 14.1 per cent to $1 billion, managed assets increased by 17.6 per cent to $1.5 billion and members earned $17.1 million in interest on deposits. Loans to members increased by $87 million or 11.1 per cent and member deposits increased by $102 million or 13 per cent.

Komsa attributed WFCU's success to "hiring the best available employees, training them well and maintaining a comprehensive package of compensation and benefits."

In the past year, the WFCU has opened new branches in Leamington and Amherstburg and announced plans to open branches at the University of Windsor's centre for innovation and downtown Windsor in the near future.

It has also added its name to the new Windsor International Aquatics and Training Centre in exchange for a $2.2 million donation over 25 years.

Established in 1941, the WFCU now has 32,000 personal, business and organization members.