UPDATE – Concentra staff fundraising to build home in Kenya

In our blog post on March 4, 2014, we shared news of our project to support Mission:180, an organization committed to make a difference in Kenya by building homes for orphans and widows and in working with them to create a future with education and employment opportunities.

In early 2013, we set a fundraising goal of $50,000 to build a Concentra ‘Forever Home’ with the hope to have it fully funded by end of December 2014. Through the support from payroll pledges, jeans days, 50/50 draws, e-bingos, a turkey dinner, and many other activities, so far we have raised $50,735!

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Harness the Power of Innovation

As the Innovation Manager at Concentra Financial, I am always looking at ways to foster and grow our corporate innovation program. So this past May, I was grateful to attend the Business Innovation Summit in Toronto, hosted by the Conference Board of Canada. I experienced two days of high-profile keynote speakers and smaller interactive presentations focused on accelerating corporate innovation and commercialization in Canada.

I came away renewed, excited, and motivated with what I learned and I want to pass that on to you. Here are some of my key takeaways. Maybe you’ll find something of value that you can share in your credit union.

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Seek tailored solutions with your equipment financing partner

I want to share an article written for Canadian Treasurer Magazine by Hugh Swandel, a prominent expert in the Canadian leasing industry.

Hugh provides an excellent context of the business:

“The right equipment finance company has specialized knowledge of both the equipment used by a company and the financing structure that can address the useful life of the equipment and provide terms of financing that are practical and economical for the client.”

This is the value our commercial equipment leasing services bring to your credit union. Our professionals work with you in meeting the needs of your commercial members seeking tailored solutions for specific equipment-related issues.

You can find the article on page 22. Enjoy.

Terry Wensley, General Manager, Commercial Equipment Leasing

Case Studies in Handling Estates: New eClass using a five-step approach to handling estates

We are pleased to announce a new partnership with CUSOURCE Credit Union Knowledge Network to offer a personal trust-related eClass, a first for Concentra. Our Concentra Trust leading estate expert Joan McAulay has worked closely with the CUSOURCE team to create Case Studies in Handling Estates, specifically designed for credit union professionals seeking to enhance their knowledge and skills in handling estates.
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Expand financing options for your members

At Concentra Commercial Leasing Services, our focus for the past 16 years has remained unchanged. We are not in business to compete with credit unions, but rather to help position credit unions in the marketplace as a full-service financial service provider that offers a competitive lease product.

Our leasing product allows credit unions to offer their members a menu of equipment financing options as well as the greater financial capacity that comes along with sharing the load. Credit union staff and members enjoy a face-to-face relationship, which has long been the hallmark of credit unions, while our leasing staff assist behind the scenes to ensure the “i’s” are dotted and the “t’s” are crossed. It’s a win-win situation.
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Balance Sheet Management Workshops

The Cross-Country Tour

The Concentra cross-country balance sheet management workshops have begun! On April 23rd, our Concentra team of experts was fortunate to have the attention of a terrific group of credit union professionals in Vancouver. The discussions that occurred throughout the day were empowering and reinforced to us that Concentra brings value to our credit union partners across the country.

The topics of the day focused on market updates and optimizing balance sheet strategies. Bruce Klassen, VP, Financial Markets started the day with an engaging economic update that stirred great debate about macroeconomic trends in Canada, US and Europe and what that means in the context of credit unions. He also discussed trends that Concentra sees among our credit union partners related to margin compression, interest rate risk and diversifying funding channels. I think this is all something that as a system we are dealing with collectively, so the debate was lively!
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Working in harmony with credit unions

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Concentra annual general meeting preview

It’s an honour to host our annual general meeting on May 5 as part of the 2014 Canadian Conference for Credit Union Leaders in Charlottetown, P.E.I. because it means we will have the opportunity to speak directly to the many credit unions in attendance

As a sneak peak, you can expect to hear about results that demonstrate how Concentra delivers value to the credit union system.

For example, Credit Union FX is a new foreign exchange solution that allows credit unions to earn non-interest revenue while offering members real-time, online currency trading, under the credit union’s brand. At Concentra, we are committed to working in harmony with credit unions to optimize profitability, to reduce the risk in their business operations and to expand the suite of financial and trust solutions they offer their members.

We’re excited to share many more examples as well as information about our operations and successes during 2013, and our strategic plans to continue to empower Canada’s credit unions well into the future.

Hope to see you in Charlottetown!

Understanding the increase in mortgage insurance premiums

Effective May 1, 2014, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation* (CMHC) will increase mortgage insurance premiums, imposed on the borrower, by an average
of 15%**. There is a lot of speculation about what this means for the mortgage industry in Canada so, let’s take a look at it.
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Stay Ahead of Your Member Mortgage Preferences

Fixed rate outshines variable

Studies show that since 1975, borrowers benefitted from choosing variable rate mortgages over fixed rate mortgages 84% of the time. It’s still true today, yet most borrowers now opt for a fixed rate loan. Why?

In 2010, we started to see a shift in borrower preferences when mortgage industry surveys indicated that new business consisted of 68% fixed rate loans, 27% variable rate loans, and 5% of combination rate loans. At that time, the lowest variable rates charged were 3.03%, but the lowest fixed rates were 5.15%. With over a 2% difference, it made sense for borrowers to select a variable rate, which they did.

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