Our 59th Annual General Meeting: A Message from CEO, Ian Thomas

4 minute read

Kindred Credit union CEO - Ian Thomas

It was my pleasure to attend Kindred Credit Union’s 59th Annual General Meeting on April 12, 2023 at Knox Waterloo Presbyterian Church. We had a strong turnout at our 2nd hybrid AGM with over 350 in attendance in person and online. And we were so pleased to be able to gather afterwards for refreshments and fellowship!

As I reflect on the past year, Inspiring Resilient Communities could not have been a more appropriate theme for our AGM. It is something we have all needed to foster recently. At Kindred, we have done exactly that and we could not have done it alone.

Resilience is based on me and we, everyone participating, with no one left on the outside looking in. There is profound truth in the proverb, “a cord of three strands is not easily broken.” I firmly believe that when our “three strands”—Kindred, our members, and our community partners—are pulling in one direction, we are stronger, more resilient, and prepared for the future.

Many approached 2022 with caution. The lingering effects of COVID-19, an unstable global economy, and increased costs of living signaled an uncertain year ahead. But credit unions were born out of tough economic times. Seasons of challenge also present opportunities for growth. As a credit union, 2022 provided an opportunity to grow our membership, expand our reach, and strengthen our financial foundations.

Across the sector, credit union new membership grows by roughly 1% per year. In 2022, Kindred grew by 4.5% to over 27,000 members. Deposits grew by 6.60% which includes $41.4 million of Investment Shares. Total assets under administration grew by 6.08% to $2.32 billion as of December 31, 2022.

It is the resilience of our membership and the trust you place in Kindred that has allowed us to remain on a steady growth trajectory. Thank you.

From that day in March 1964 when a group of Waterloo Country Mennonites deposited $22 in a cash box, through to today, Kindred has been community-focused. It’s not just what we say; it’s who we are.

Even when few were talking about values-based banking, Kindred was focused on doing the right thing. We have been coming alongside our members, wherever they are at, to provide financial services that tap into our shared values. We serve urban, suburban, and rural markets equally well with a healthy balance of residential and commercial/agricultural loans. In 2022, our assets grew by 8% to $1.972 billion.

Kindred strives to focus our resources on what we are good at for the benefit of our members and the community at large. Last year, we helped young adults, seniors, families, farmers, and new Canadians plan for the future and achieve their financial goals. Our deposits grew to $107.7 million. and Kindred’s Profit Shares program distributed $1.46 million to our personal and business members in 2022.

These are great achievements for organizational profit and sustainability. And the fuller measure of our success is how we impact our members and the communities where they live, work, and play, and how we can have even greater impact as more is entrusted to us. Last year, we budgeted 6% of our pre-tax earnings toward charitable contributions. When our growth exceeded budget, we were able to increase that amount for the third year in a row. Not only did Kindred do better; the community benefitted as well.

In total, we provided $575,000 in charitable giving. We announced a $125,000 contribution toward the expansion of Parkwood Seniors Community in Waterloo. Parkwood provides a range of affordable housing options for older adults, from independent living to long-term care. The expansion will add another 28 affordable apartments for those on a modest income.

Addressing the affordable housing crisis is also the focal point of our new Affordable Housing GIC and Affordable Housing Loan. These innovative, first of its kind products allow members to invest in a fund that supports lending for affordable housing units in Waterloo Region. It is another way for Kindred’s members to connect their values with their finances.

We also celebrated 25 years of our Church Builder GIC by giving away $25,000 (five $5,000 grants) to help churches address community food security and safe and affordable housing. Since launching the Church Builder GIC we have given over $890,000 in bonus interest to churches and charities. In 2023, we are refreshing this product. It will now be known as the Community Inspiration GIC. It will retain all of the features of the Church Builder GIC, and in addition to benefiting churches and church-related charities it will have an extended reach to qualifying charities that are addressing food security, affordable housing and financial empowerment, allowing for an even greater impact in our communities.

We are grateful that Kindred can generously support our community partners. It is your trust in Kindred and your commitment to building healthy, resilient communities that makes this all happen.

As we look forward to the remainder of 2023 and beyond, we extend our gratitude to the members who have built Kindred into the success it is today. We are thankful for your many years of faithful partnership. It is because of you that Kindred has become a place of belonging for everyone—new and existing members.

Over the many years, a forward-thinking mentality has been woven into the fabric of Kindred’s approach to banking. We have been proactively investing in the future to ensure Kindred is able to serve our growing membership and impact our growing communities. We have integrated new platforms, grown our staff, introduced new products and services, and strengthened our commitment to agriculture and business members through the hiring of our first Vice-President, Agriculture and Commercial Banking.

A potential new member recently commented to me, “I am interested if you can help me today. I am really interested if you can help me tomorrow.” We can confidently say that Kindred is here for you now and here for your future.

In closing, thank you to our members, staff members, board members, and community partners for your commitment to Banking with Purpose. Together, we are inspiring resilient, thriving communities filled with opportunity for all.

Ian Thomas

Chief Executive Officer
Ian is a values-led, people-centric leader with a proven track record developing strategy, empowering teams, and establishing lasting connections with strategic and community partners.

Search Kindred’s Donovan Gerber finds a sense of purpose through volunteering #NVW2023
Investing in Your 20’s: Where Do You Begin? Search