All Articles  / Sep 09, 2020

Share Newsletter: Fall 2020

  1. Banking with Purpose through the Pandemic
  2. Energy with Impact
  3. Mutual Funds 101
  4. Now Accepting Applications for the 2021 Kindred Charitable Fund
 

Banking with Purpose through the Pandemic

It’s been nearly half a year since the pandemic lockdown started in Ontario—six months since everything changed. The resilience we saw from our membership and community, our member businesses, and our staff was inspiring! The early stages of the lockdown were hard, yet people did what they had to do for everyone’s safety and it made a difference. 

As I reflect on 2020 so far, I’m incredibly proud of how much we’ve accomplished and how we’ve been able to meet members wherever they’re at. We led with our values so that we could offer advice and assurance, and we served members’ banking needs during this time of uncertainty. 

Deemed an essential service, we remained open and adapted our practices so we could continue working while keeping staff and members safe. For example, we changed branch health and safety protocols, we expanded the use of our branch drop boxes for ‘low-touch’ banking, and we offered professional advice over the phone rather than in-person.

We also made 7,000 check-in calls to members. We were able to respond to many questions, members expressed appreciation for reaching out, and we even heard a few emotional responses
from those feeling isolated during the lockdown. We learned so much about what our members and community partners needed from us and how we could offer our services in ways that were convenient, safe, and meaningful. 

Adapting our practices as the pandemic evolved, we fast-tracked solutions that made it easier for members to do their banking from a distance. For example, within weeks we launched e-signature, reducing the need for signing documents in person. We also offered video appointments to connect with members virtually. Many individual and business members qualified for government support programs, and we were among the first to offer access to these programs directly through online banking. We’ve also introduced account opening and account switching online to make it easier to bank with Kindred, wherever you’re at.

During this difficult and unprecedented time, each decision we made was purpose-driven, so that we could find meaningful ways to help our members and our community. With our Crisis Care GIC, we created a product that allowed our members to participate in the credit union and to help their community. When we helped members arrange for debt payment relief, we ensured their immediate need was served while offering expert advice so they understood the long-term implications on their finances. And today, recognizing that the crisis is not over, we continue to reach out to these members so we understand their ongoing needs and we can discuss next steps. That’s Banking with Purpose.

Clear communication is important during times of crisis in order to give accurate and relevant information to those that need it. Over the last several months, we shared regular updates so you knew about the financial support available to you and you were informed about our service changes. In response, you helped us learn what to keep doing and what to change. 

This year has proven how saving and planning ahead is key to ensuring financial peace of mind. People are re-evaluating their expenses and showing gratitude for the necessities we used to take for granted. Thank you for allowing us to walk with you on this journey, offering advice and helping you make a plan that aligns with your values. 

Everyone was uncertain about how the pandemic would affect their lives, their businesses, and their community. And yet, Kindred members supported us without hesitation, while also helping local organizations serving the most vulnerable: nearly $3 million was invested the Crisis Care GIC, resulting in $15,000 donated to local community groups. 

We’re happy to confirm that your credit union is healthy and strong. All core aspects of our business have seen growth this year—in fact, June was our second highest month for member growth ever! 

There are some communities, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC), who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and many people whose needs and hardships have grown during this time. Now, as Kindred considers how we will contribute to Canada’s economic recovery, we have to remember the need to provide support in ways that are inclusive. 

While we don’t yet know what the remainder of 2020 will bring, we do know Kindred will be here to support you, our members. Thank you for trusting us to be your financial partner. 

With appreciation,

Ian Thomas
Chief Executive Officer


 

Energy with Impact

The Cash Management Group (CMG) at Canaccord Genuity, in partnership with Kindred and other Canadian credit unions, offers IMPACT GICs to municipalities, post-secondary institutions, and other investors. When their institutional clients invest in an IMPACT GIC, Canaccord Genuity aligns the funds with a partnering credit union, such as Kindred. We then lend those funds to one of our members that pursues at least one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, all of these loans are subject to a series of positive and negative screens so that we can ensure the funds are loaned out in a sustainable way. Kindred is pleased to profile VCT Group, a member whose loans are matched with the CMG IMPACT GIC. 

VCT Group has been supporting clean energy since 2008. An innovative organization that offers clients consultation services, installation, and maintenance services, VCT Group is well known in Waterloo Region. Over the years, they have experimented with a number of different types of energy models; however, today they specialize in solar installations. Working with businesses and individuals, VCT Group helps clients maximize their electricity savings and their contribution to the province’s clean energy supply. 

One of VCT Group’s keystone solar installations is their contribution to the evolv1 office building (pictured), Canada’s first Zero Carbon Design Certified project, which set out to prove that it’s possible to build using low-carbon strategies for the same cost as conventional construction. VCT Group partnered with the developer and other stakeholders to design a sophisticated solar system with integrated monitoring capabilities that produces more energy than the site consumes. Another showcase of VCT Group’s work is the 50 Kent building which houses Kindred’s Kitchener branch, MCC Ontario, and other organizations with shared values.

As technology advances and prices for solar come down, VCT Group continues to seek new ways to make clean tech more accessible. “Advancing solar panel technology was the focus in the industry for about 10 years,” Brian Unrau, VCT Group President notes. “Now, we’re able to make solar systems work smarter with improved battery storage, custom racking, and monitoring software, which means solar is becoming practical for more uses—including night and winter energy needs, as well as off-grid applications.”

Originally known as Vigor Clean Tech, VCT Group holds a number of companies under its umbrella, including a renewable energy cooperative. They launched CED Co-op as a way to better share the benefits of the clean energy business with the community, providing local, visible, and impactful investment opportunities. With over $20 million in investments raised from its 750 members, CED Co-op is helping to fund a portfolio of renewable energy projects worth more than $40 million. “We seek financial returns and efficiency for our clients,” Brian tells us, “as we build a sustainable business that contributes to growth and innovation in the clean energy sector.“

VCT Group and Kindred have a long working relationship. Brian worked in various roles at Kindred over a seven year period, including three years as the Waterloo branch manager. Later, in 2011, VCT Group helped Kindred with our first solar installation at the Waterloo branch. Since then, the panels have generated over 68,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy and offset our carbon emissions by 47 tonnes, which is equivalent to planting 1,233 trees. “We’re happy we could help Kindred start on its clean energy path,” Brian offers. When discussing VCT Group’s relationship with Kindred, Brian adds: “Obtaining financing in Ontario for an emerging sector can be challenging, yet our Kindred Account Manager is always willing to discuss our options with us.” Ben Janzen, Kindred’s Director of Values Integration, concurs: “Climate action is one of our areas of focus. The clean energy sector can sometimes be difficult to finance, as various government regulations, subsidy and consumer programs change the landscape for all those involved in delivering sustainable change. At Kindred, we’re committed to learning more and working harder to understand how to support clean tech businesses such as VCT Group.”

Together with their clients, VCT Group has generated well over 70 million kilowatt hours of clean energy! Kindred is pleased to partner with such an innovative and climate-friendly enterprise. You can be sure you’ll hear more about VCT Group and CED Co-op in the years to come. To learn more, visit vigorcleantech.com.


 

Mutual Funds 101

Mutual funds have been available in Canada for many years, and today they are one of the most popular types of investments around.

A mutual fund is a basket of investments that can include cash, bonds, stocks, and other types of equities. Each fund is professionally managed based on its stated investment objectives.

Many mutual funds are focused on certain asset classes (e.g., equities or fixed income), segments of the market, and geographical regions, while others are managed with a broader scope to be more diversified. Some funds may invest broadly with a specialized investment approach. However, since many individual mutual funds tend to be narrowly focused, your Investment Specialist or Financial Planner may recommend investing in a number of different mutual funds to achieve true diversification.

Invest with your Values

Whether you choose to invest in GICs or mutual funds, we can help you invest in ways that align with your values. Socially responsible investing (SRI) is about using wealth to build a more economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable world. Here at Kindred, our Financial Planning Team specializes in SRI.

Kindred plays a vital role in the development and growth of SRI in Canada. It began with the launch of Meritas Mutual Funds in 2000 and, in recent years, when a number of legacy SRI funds were merging into larger funds, we successfully advocated for the application of more stringent gambling, pornography, and military weapons screens. This helped maintain the values-aligned SRI standards that Kindred members have come to expect for their portfolios.

To learn more about mutual funds or SRI, call your local branch to speak with a member of our Financial Planning Team.

Invest Regularly

The state of the market can prompt investors to make emotional decisions. One strategy to avoid the pitfalls of investing with emotions is dollar-cost averaging, where you invest a smaller amount of money at regular intervals (e.g., every week, two weeks, or month) into the same investment. This way you don’t have to find a larger amount to invest at any one time and you don’t risk buying in when the market is on a high. Instead, you invest at every point in the market cycle, with the expectation that the value of your investments will rise over the long term, and will be worth more when you sell them than your average cost to buy them—which means you’ll have made money!

Time in the market

  •  If you were invested for all of 2010, your annual return would be 17.6%.
  • If you missed the 5 best trading days of the same year, your return would drop dramatically to 6.4% – foregoing two-thirds of the return.
  • If you missed the 10 best trading days of the same year, your end-of-year return would drop to negative territory at -2.2%.

The chart illustrates the returns of the S&P/TSX Composite Index for each year from 2000 to 2017. The chart also demonstrates the impact on your returns if you missed out on the 5 best or 10 best trading days in each year. Source: Bloomberg, total returns from 2000 to 2017


Get more from your credit card

Now more than ever, it’s important to find a credit card that provides you with convenient and efficient ways to manage your cash flow, expenses, and unexpected costs. Explore the range of Kindred Collabria Mastercard® credit card options and get more from your spending. 

From Tap & Go®, AutoPay, and Zero Liability fraud and purchase protection, to rewards and cash-back, Kindred’s suite of Personal and Business Mastercard credit cards work as hard as you do.

All promotions valid from August 1 to October 31.


 

Now Accepting Applications for the 2021 Kindred Charitable Fund

The Kindred Charitable Fund is an endowment that offers annual project grants to churches and charitable organizations. Each year, we provide grants to support projects that help us accomplish our purpose.

To apply, please complete the Charitable Giving Request form on kindredcu.com by October 31. If you have any questions, please contact Amy Zavitz, Community Engagement Specialist,
at amy.zavitz@kindredcu.com or call 519.746.1010, ext. 5509.


You can access your Profit Shares!

From September 1 until October 30, 2020, you are able to access up to 5% of your accumulated Profit Shares. For more information, call your local branch and speak with a member of our Financial Planning Team.


Virtual Event Dates

International Credit Union Day: October 15, 2020 – We love to celebrate our Kindred members on this day; however, our activities will look a little different this year. Stay tuned for more information! 

Sign up for Kindred email updates to stay informed about these upcoming virtual events, and more.


Securities and securities related financial planning services are offered through Qtrade Advisor, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc., Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Mutual funds and securities related financial planning services are offered through Qtrade Asset Management Inc., Member MFDA.

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