Assiniboine Credit Union goes far beyond banking

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Before joining Assiniboine Credit Union Limited (ACU) in 2021, David Dada knew from his research that the organization does far more than offer financial products and services to its members.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/03/2022 (206 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Before joining Assiniboine Credit Union Limited (ACU) in 2021, David Dada knew from his research that the organization does far more than offer financial products and services to its members.

ACU has operated as a financial co-operative for almost 80 years. With assets of more than $5 billion and owned collectively by more than 125,000 Manitobans who use its services, it operates 14 branch locations in Winnipeg and two northern branches in Thompson and Gillam.

In addition to providing traditional banking services, all branches focus on furthering community economic development, providing financial services to low-income communities ignored or overlooked by larger commercial banks, and encouraging the use of local resources in a way that sustainably enhances economic opportunities while improving social conditions.

ACU employees held a sacred blanket ceremony, to acknowledge, honour, respect and recognize the achievements of Kirstin Witwicki, founding Indigenous Leadership Circle member and ACU employee.

Branches also get involved in community-based activities ranging from financial advice for low-income families and co-operative housing projects to refurbishing used bicycles.

“We’re not like other financial institutions,” says Kim Champion Taylor, chief people solutions officer. “Assiniboine’s purpose is centred around equity, social justice and community building, and that’s reflected in the work we do and the products we offer.”

It’s an aspect of ACU that Dada especially admires. “Their values are in line with mine,” he says.

When he went to work for the organization in 2021, Dada had more than 10 years of experience in accounting, bookkeeping and portfolio analysis, as well as an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in accounting. But he’d acquired most of his credentials and experience in Nigeria.

“I had to start all over again,” he says. “But ACU was a good place to do it.”

ACU quickly recognized his capabilities. In less than a year, he moved three times into more responsible positions.

“One thing I love about this organization,” he says, “if you work diligently, you get opportunities to advance.”

The appreciation is mutual. ACU competes for capable employees like Dada not just with other financial institutions but also “with any organization looking for service-oriented people,” says Champion Taylor.

In addition to employee referrals and job postings on employment websites, ACU works with organizations that bring jobs to groups who face barriers to employment or whose clients are new to Canada.

“We look anywhere we can to find employees,” she says.

To retain them, ACU offers competitive compensation and benefits packages along with mortgages and other loans at reduced rates. It encourages employees to gain qualifications they need for advancement by offering internal learning and development programs in areas such as mortgage assessment, investment advice and client communications.

Employees can hone their leadership skills by participating in ACU’s employee-led committees, including its Indigenous Leadership Circle and initiatives focused on wellness, environmental issues and community development.

“We support external training, as well,” says Champion Taylor, “if the employee’s aspirations correspond to our objectives.”

In pursuit of his own aspirations, Dada has completed a Canadian Securities Course and earned certification from the Canadian Payroll Association. Now, as a financial services representative, he has enrolled in a training program to qualify as a financial advisor.

“I registered after I received an email from head office inviting people to enroll in the program,” he says. “It will take one to two years.

“I know that if I keep working, I’ll get to where I want to be. I just have to show what I can do.”

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