SPARK Strategy Update 2020

SPARK Strategy Updates 2020

Published: 08 October 2020

Valued Members,

I hope this note finds you well and that you and your loved ones have stayed safe during this difficult time.

Our world is certainly much different than it was when we launched our rebrand almost two years ago. Since then, we have celebrated accomplishments such as our new location in Fort Saskatchewan, expanded partnerships throughout the province, the launch of three new lending products and of course, our ongoing service commitment to our members.

During this time, we have also encountered some unprecedented challenges since becoming Spark, including a prime rate decrease from 3.95% to 2.45%, a prolonged reduction in oil and gas prices, significant job losses in Alberta and the onset of COVID-19. These factors have led to increased loan losses (as many of our members are experiencing difficult times) and reduced interest rate margins, which both significantly impact our income and capital reserves - all as we have worked to adapt to the changes brought on by the global pandemic.

As such, your Board of Directors has been assessing the economic environment, the challenges brought on directly and indirectly from the COVID-19 pandemic and considering the best path forward to provide our members and employees with peace of mind, confidence and continued access to first-rate financial products and services. We are committed to representing the best interest of our members and keeping you informed which is why I am writing to you today.

We have determined that pursuing a partnership with another credit union may provide unique benefits for our members and improved sustainability for our credit union.  As part of a larger credit union, we would be more easily able to manage through many of the challenges we and other financial institutions all over our country are encountering.  

Recently, we reached out to several Alberta credit unions that are best suited to meet the needs of our members, to explore how a partnership could benefit both credit unions. A partner will be chosen only after careful evaluation of their strategy, financial situation, culture, and ability to best meet the needs of our members and our employees.

We are in the midst of evaluating responses from select credit unions and if we determine there is a strong fit for Spark, we will take further steps in exploring and understanding the opportunities a partnership will present for members over the next many months.

What does this mean for you, our Members?

There are no changes to your membership or services. In fact, one of the facets we will be evaluating with potential partners is maintaining existing or similar products and benefits, so there will be limited impact to our members.

Your deposits with Spark continue to be 100% guaranteed by the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation*. Additional business you may have through Spark partners also continues with no foreseeable changes. Rest assured our focus is on doing our best for the membership and limiting any inconvenience.  

We do not yet know what the future will bring, but I can say we are very excited about the possibilities. We are confident in telling you that if we decide to partner, it will be for the benefit of our members.   

We are committed to keeping you up to date as we explore this opportunity further and will report out regularly on our progress. To ensure that our updates reach you in a timely manner, we strongly encourage you to sign up for email updates by completing the form on the right side of this page. We also recommend that you bookmark and visit this page regularly for updates.

We are focused on achieving an outcome that is in the best interest of you, our members, and we’re counting on your ongoing support as members and owners of Spark. Should you have any questions or concerns, we are here to listen.

Please feel free to reach to our confidential email: your-board@sparkcu.ca

Sincerely,

Tim Rose
Board Chair
on behalf of the SPARK Board of Directors

*All principal and interest is 100% guaranteed by the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation, excluding common shares, investment shares, and mutual funds. Click here to learn more about our deposit protection.
 

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