The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation; one in which credit unions and other financial institutions have come together to create a solution that will help Canadians access much-needed funds during a time of crisis.

On March 26, Central 1 was approached by the CRA and Payments Canada to help implement a system-wide initiative to drive the adoption of direct deposit enrollment. The vision was to create a simple way to enable Canadians register to have their CRA payments – including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – automatically deposited into their account at their financial institution, rather than receiving cheques in the mail.

In the space of just eight days, our teams worked day and night with our Champion credit unions Vancity and Alterna to ensure the implementation of this vital CRA direct deposit enrollment feature on our MemberDirect and Forge digital banking platforms. Our first credit union client successfully launched CRA’s Direct Deposit via Financial Institutions service on April 2 and several other credit unions and financial institutions followed over the weekend.

We now have 61 clients who are live and 83 implementations are underway. Our clients have received almost 4,000 registrations for the CRA Direct Deposit via Financial Institutions service to date and this number is expected to increase as the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences play out.

I am proud of the role Central 1 played in helping the government implement this system-wide initiative to drive the adoption of direct deposit enrollment and of how our teams brought this service to fruition for our clients in record time. I’m grateful to our Champions Vancity and Alterna who helped us achieve successful implementation in such a tight timeframe.

Our AVP of Development, Rene Gourley had this to say about the mammoth effort made by everyone involved: “Our teams took risks, dug deep for answers, found solutions and assumed responsibility. Nobody said this couldn’t be done and they pulled it off while managing their own private crises as they transitioned to working from home.”

The hard work continues and we look forward to quickly enabling the CRA’s Direct Deposit via Financial Institutions service for all our clients who wish to deliver it.

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