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May 27, 2010

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Kevin O'Brien, Minister of Government Services:

Credit Unions Have Record Year in 2009

Everyone is aware of the financial storm that existed in the last year and the challenges it provided to many different groups and sectors across the board. However, one group in this province met those challenges head on. I am speaking of the credit union system of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I am very pleased to stand in this Honourable House today and announce that credit union assets grew by nine per cent or $63 million in 2009 and this was also the first year in history that all Newfoundland and Labrador credit unions were profitable.

This success can be directly attributed to the hard work of volunteer directors, management and staff of credit unions. The Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation also had a role to play in this success through the policies and procedures it has implemented over the years. It is also reflective of the right decisions that the Williams Government have made since 2003 to grow the economy in this province.

With over 55,000 customer/owners and $763 million in assets, credit unions provide a full range of financial services to Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. They are the only financial service provider in some rural areas of the province and compete head-on with the large banks in other areas. They are locally owned and controlled, meaning profits stay in this province. Also, lending decisions are made locally, unlike some financial institutions where they are made outside the province.

The credit union system is a key service provider in rural areas and an employer of choice. Currently there are 11 credit unions with 40 locations across this province of which 31 are located outside the northeast Avalon. These rural locations employ 203 employees earning total salaries and benefits of over $8 million for an average of almost $40,000 per employee. Provincially, they employ 317 people earning more than $15 million.

As the minister responsible for the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation, I am continually impressed with how in tune credit unions are to the needs of their owner/operators. It is because of their initiatives that credit unions are a viable and attractive alternative for banking.

I congratulate all credit unions on their achievements in 2009 and I look forward to 2010 being another successful year.

2010 05 27                                                          1:55 p.m.

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