Leadership report.

Throughout 2023, amidst the complex process of merger integration, StellerVista’s member service team showcased remarkable dedication, ensuring that our members not only had access to the services and information they needed but also that our credit union ran as seamlessly as possible through the whole process. While yes, there were technical challenges with our conversion, at no time were our branches unable to serve and support members in the way they have been trained to do. Because of this, and in alignment with our merger business plan, our credit union actually had a strong year in terms of income and business and even managed to exceed the performance level of our peers in a number of key areas. This resilience underscores our core business lines’ strength and focus, despite the additional expenses and workload brought on by the merger. 2023 brought a year of unprecedented rate changes, a new credit union brand, the merging of seven branches, and a lengthy technical integration process – yet the core of our business remained as strong as ever. Our member service teams deserve an immense thank you for their hard work.


Strategic Project Management

While the day-to-day operation of our credit union is the priority, we have come to acknowledge the fact that financial services, as a whole, is in a period of rapid evolution. Ever growing regulatory requirements, matched with increased technological demands from both the financial services system and our members, alongside the natural evolution of industry, have led us to the development of a dedicated Project Management function at StellerVista. In 2023, we officially launched this new role, and are pleased to say that our long-time employee, Eric Johnstone, has successfully stepped into the position. The introduction of this new area of our business will better allow us to navigate the change needed, offering dedicated oversight and organization to our strategic and project work, while letting our member service team remain focused on the core of our business. As we now realize that industry change will not be slowing any time soon, this new business function is going to ensure our success in navigating it. Proper project management, in-house will mean that we no longer manage projects in an ad-hoc manner, and that we have a dedicated resource to keep our initiatives on track and on budget in their implementation.


Hiring Challenges

One part of successfully managing projects and change is leveraging our people. In our current economic context, and throughout 2023, the ability to hire and retain staff has become a challenge, with demographic shifts being a central factor felt across North America. This trend spans most industries, and while StellerVista is not immune, we are dedicated to doing all that we can to get the people we need on board. The full benefit and outcome of the job creation we have undertaken, cannot be fully realized, until we can get the majority of open jobs, filled. Overall, we are seeing a good uptake of applicants among the newer roles we’ve created, but are seeing less uptake in our entry level positions. 2024 has already brought about a small shift in the challenging labour trend, but we have a ways to go and are moving forward with a positive outlook that we will be able to fill our postings and get StellerVista staffed in a robust fashion — ensuring the highest access to quality local banking service.

You’re Protected.

At StellerVista Credit Union, we take the safety and security of our members' deposits very seriously. That's why we are proud to be a member of the Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC), which provides deposit insurance for all eligible deposits held with BC credit unions. CUDIC has made deposit insurance safe and simple, so you maintain your financial peace of mind. All eligible deposits are automatically 100% guaranteed, including all money on deposit with a BC credit union, including foreign currencies and accrued interest, regardless of the length of the term of maturity. No limits on dollar amount. No application required. (Credit union equity shares and investments such as mutual funds or RRSP equity plans are not covered by CUDIC.)

Member Communication

Through the challenges brought by staff shortages and technical integration, we re-learned an important lesson last year – that what our members are saying, is the best source of information we can get. The pre-authorization issue, mentioned in the merger section, as an example, would not have been discovered as quickly as it was, were it not for members letting us know. So, while we have made efforts in the past year to listen and learn, we know that we need to focus even harder on this in the years to come. While our branch staff has been excellent at capturing and relaying member feedback to the leadership team, we are dedicated to building even more avenues for members to share their insight – good or bad. One step forward in this regard, in 2023, was the approval of a policy allowing our credit union to formally run Member Advisory Committees (MAC), beginning 2024. These member-led committees will be developed to provide direct input to the Board of Directors on important matters. Beyond general feedback, members will now be able to share their insight on important matters within these committees, which we expect to launch before the summer of this year. Members interested in participating should keep an eye on our website for more information.

"A notable learning from 2023 was that, the more input and feedback we can capture from members, the better our teams can do in serving them. The development of policy around launching Member Advisory Committees is a very positive step forward in doing this even better.”
Lynnette Wray
Board Chair

An Uncertain Economy

In recent years, we’ve been navigating vastly uncertain economic conditions and a real strain on the economy in general – but the financial robustness of our credit union, and of Canada’s credit union system in general, has ensured that the performance of StellerVista remains strong. While the continual management and adaptation of our system’s stringent checks and balances increases our workload, it also provides stability from top to bottom, even through the toughest of economic times.


It should also be noted that, part of our strong financial performance is tied to our subsidiary lines of business. While StellerVista owns a few smaller companies – all related to credit union business in some form – our Wealth Management and Insurance lines of business has been providing us a strong return on investment. These companies include: MoneyWorks, Kootenay Insurance Services, Growth Financial, and HG Insurance. As we anticipate potential economic strains on small and medium businesses, a core piece of our credit union business, we will – as always – ensure that all lines of our business remain active and strong, as to diversify our performance outcomes.

Subsidiary Lines of Business

In running our business as effectively as possible, we have developed a number of different subsidiary ownerships, all of which are directly tied to—and drive benefit to—our credit union. These include a 25% ownership in Kootenay Insurance Services LTD, a 33% ownership in Kootenay Risk Services (KRS), a 100% ownership of EKC Property Holdings LTD, a 50% ownership of Growth Financial, a 50% ownership of MoneyWorks, and a 60% ownership of 398329 BC Ltd, which operates the Castlegar branch strip mall. Further information and notes on these subsidiaries can be found in our full financial statements, included in this report.

All said, we understand the demands of our system, and of our members, and that it is our job to bring forward the new solutions and processes that meet these demands. We also understand that we need to bring forward this change, while staying true to the core of our service – local banking, in local branches, through local relationships. This is our goal, and it is our vision to use the change ahead to build on what we already have, not to change, reduce, or reshape it. Local members service is what matters to StellerVista, and it is our goal to be your best option for local banking in every community we serve.


Thank you all for your support and input during what was our credit unions most transformative year ever. We very much look forward to serving you in 2024.