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B.C. credit unions beat banks in growth

Credit union assets up 6.2 per cent, bank assets up 5.7 per cent over one year

B.C.’s financial institutions including credit unions, investment funds and banks have all enlarged their asset base over the past year. 

The largest banks operating in the province have grown at a slower rate than smaller community credit unions. The asset holdings of the five largest banks operating in British Columbia increased by an average of 5.7 per cent in 2017 from 2016. Credit unions operating in the province increased their asset holdings an average of 6.2 per cent over the same period.

Not only did banks grow more slowly than credit unions, but their one-year asset growth declined from an average of 8.3 per cent in 2015. 

Credit unions, on the other hand, are boasting an average one-year asset growth of 6.2 per cent in 2017, up from an average of 4.1 per cent in 2013. credit union graphs 

The province’s largest investment funds followed a trajectory similar to those of the banks, growing at a faster rate than credit unions — though at a slower rate than they had five years ago. From January 2018 to January 2019, assets held by investment funds grew an average of 7.8 per cent. 

Despite having larger asset growth than credit unions, the one-year asset growth rate for investment funds has declined by a third since 2015, falling to 8.8 per cent in 2019 from 12.6 per cent in 2015.

B.C.’s largest credit unions’ average assets grew 29.7 per cent to $1.97 billion in 2017 from $1.52 billion in 2013. 

During the same period, banks expanded their average asset holdings by 35.9 per cent. Over a five-year term, CIBC, the smallest bank in the top five, had the largest asset growth, increasing its holdings by 43.9 per cent to $597.1 billion in 2018 from $414.9 billion in 2014. 

Unlike the other financing groups, the largest banks operating in the province reported a significant disparity between their median and average growth rates in 2018. 

The average bank’s asset holdings grew 7.8 per cent over the one-year period compared with a median growth rate of 9.1 per cent, suggesting that banks with smaller asset holdings grew faster than those with larger holdings. 

— Albert Van Santvoort, Business in Vancouver