Regulatory Arbitrage

This is a new frontier for credit unions.  Regulatory Arbitrage is a big part of decision-making in large corporate entities as they choose where and how to do business.  The issue is the potential impact of requirements in certain legal jurisdictions; differing requirements drive corporate structures, governance practices, business strategies, investments, business location, staffing, and, […]

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Director Expectations and Burden

Recently Central 1 has said that changes are planned for credit union director training. The proposed threefold increase in the size of the program invites real scrutiny and critical discussion.  It would be one more big burden on small credit unions! In BC currently, directors are required to complete a program that is determined by […]

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Regulatory Over-Reach

This week FICOM hosted a conference for BC credit union directors, the sixth such annual event they have mounted.  Presentations from commission staff were augmented by a speaker on ‘Building Effective Boards’, Bev Behan.  The reporting out on FICOM and CUDIC activity was to be commended and some good questions were raised.  And while the […]

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A Real Estate Fueled Boom

Recently, economist Michael Hudson visited Vancouver to speak on the issue of housing and the ‘Junk Economics‘ (the title of his most recent book) behind our apparent good times.  The substance of his observations is presented in a readable article in this week’s Common Ground.  Hudson spoke at an event sponsored by the Centre For […]

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Many Losing Ground and Hope

At the recent Central 1 conference and AGM I listened to economists provide updates and, somehow, the growth in inequality got little attention.  Although Helmut Pastrick, the Chief Economist at C1,  did provide  a recent analysis showing the job growth in BC (and Ontario), but he did not observe that it has been where wages […]

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Bankers` Long Game

warning

Consolidation and cartel building is the long term strategy of the Big Banks and it seems to go on without much alarm.  This is partly because of their patience and partly because other players are distracted by other things; technology, risk management, new capital rules, new liquidity monitoring tools,  mortgage insurance changes, etc..  But these […]

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The ‘co-op’ business model

At a meeting of local credit unions a few nights ago there was good discussion about two competing visions; (1) a network of community based credit unions who collaborate to benefit from economies of scale and (2) a large integrated national back office corporate ‘subsidiary’.  There is tension as larger credit unions express impatience, resent […]

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Coast Capital Sales Culture

Questions are being put to Canadian banks about ethical sales practices. Are consumers being sold things they do not need?  Are banks picking people’s pockets?  Such questions may also be put to Coast Capital Savings, BC’s second largest credit union, now proposing to be a bank.  The members of Coast Capital Savings Credit Union are […]

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Privatizing Credit Unions Incrementally

A headline in Enterprise Magazine provoked me.  The text talked about ‘… collectivizing Canada’s provincial centrals and CUSO’s’ when it was introducing an article on the restructuring and streamlining of second tier entities.  In fact the reverse is true.  In our quest for greater efficiencies (and scale), control is being concentrated in fewer and fewer […]

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Mortgage Insurance Paradox

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (“CMHC”) has created what could be called a mortgage insurance empire.  With a book totaling $526B in 2015, that book alone was larger than Canada’s fifth largest bank and exceeds 1/3 the total all outstanding residential mortgages in Canada.  This coverage is sold through banks, credit unions and other lenders.  […]

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