We’re all stressing about inflation and interest rates these days and the demand for “good” financial advice is on the rise. Homeownership, mortgage renewals, investment assistance, and basic budgeting can’t be found on social media sites. That being said, most people automatically gravitate to one of Canada’s largest banks, (BMO, RBC, TD, BNS, and CIBC) especially millennials, and why not? The “Big-5” now dominate this country’s financial sector with approximately $1.05 trillion in Canadian assets. But credit today is expensive, and many millennials feel home ownership may not be a reality in their lifetime or they feel they just don’t get the right advice to save and invest for their future. We have all been systematically trained by the banks to seek financial advice online and do our banking through a “do-it-yourself” app. It was widely believed that millennials would never value a relationship with a banker and the Big-5 banks ramped up the online banking movement during COVID to reduce costs, lower overhead, and increase profits for their shareholders.

But this is not what I hear from my readers who send me hundreds of emails every week worried about their future. Today more than ever, Canadians want good customer service, honest financial advice, and they do indeed want a partnership with their bank to help them create a future for their families. The online banking movement has alienated many Canadians and made them very cautious. Are they being sold a product for their benefit or the banks? Is it worth having a relationship with a banker only to find out later that they are no longer there, and they have to start over with someone new?

Why not consider a credit union instead? Canadian credit unions are financial institutions, just like banks.

Both organizations have brick and mortar locations where you can go and do your banking. Both offer chequing and savings accounts, mortgages, loans, lines of credit, investments, and retirement products. The major difference is credit unions are non-profit organizations with a mandate to serve their members and their community, with their primary goal to provide better products and services to members. Commercial banks, on the other hand, are large for-profit entities that work for their shareholders. At this time when we really need financial advice, it’s now important to establish a partnership with a financial institution.

Ken Shea, CEO of East Coast Credit Union said, “Our advisors stay in their roles longer to build solid relationships with our members. We work with clients to create a future plan for home ownership even if they can’t get into the market right now and we promise to still be there in the future to help them through the entire buying process. We pride ourselves on going that extra mile to help our members and we look for ways to be more creative to help them get ahead. One example is our lower mortgage rates and cash-back offers to assist with down payments or expenses. Providing an exceptional experience and superior customer service set us apart from the commercial banks.”

Right now, we could all use a little help in this economic environment. Finding a professional could save you thousands of dollars, give you peace of mind, and provide you with a customized solution to build the future you have always wanted.


Good Luck & Best Wishes,

ATML - Christine Ibbotson