Canadian Credit Unions Coordinating Efforts to Optimize Open Banking

How the credit union sector in Canada is preparing for institutional data-sharing and a new wave of consumer powered finance

As the deadline for the first phase of Canadian open banking inches ever closer, credit unions across the country are working in tandem to ready their corner of financial services and set themselves up for success. The institutions are hopeful their efforts will give them “a new competitive tool in a nation where the retail banking market is dominated by six large banks,” according to American Banker. While the majority of Canada’s 400+ credit unions are regulated provincially and not required to participate in open banking, credit union leaders are pushing for a coordinated response that puts institutions in a position to gain even more new members.  

Representing the country’s biggest institutions, the Large Credit Union Coalition advocates for meeting federal regulations. “There’s a concern that provincial regulations will conflict with the federal open banking framework, for example on privacy legislation and consumer protection laws,” says Patrick Barr, LCUC director of strategy and programs. “This would delay or complicate credit unions’ participation.” The Canadian Credit Union Association, representing credit unions of all sizes and asset classes, pushed the government for the flexible provincially regulated approach but is arming leaders with tools like the Open Banking Education Forum.

For their part, individual institutions are seizing this moment to energize their organizations. In What U.S. Financial Institutions Can Learn from Canadian Open Banking, we spotlighted Jay-Ann Gilfoy, CEO of Meridian Credit Union who said, “We’re looking at it as: ‘How can this help us grow? How can this help us do the right things for our members?’” In her Financial Post interview, she talked about how her institution has been investing in technology and working with other credit unions to be open banking ready. “I think we’re on a good path in terms of being able to address [open banking] as it relates to fintech partnerships and opportunities.”

For more resources for cooperatives and credit union leaders in Canada, visit CCUA’s educational events and LCUC’s programs page. Stay tuned as Believe in Banking continues to provide news and information on the industry’s latest developments, like consumer-directed finance and open banking. For insights on best practices in financial services, contact the banking and credit union experts at Adrenaline at info@adrenalineagency.com.