01 Nov 2023  /  4 minute read

Money made better: Libro Credit Union’s journey of purpose-driven banking

One of the main commitments credit unions work toward is to grow prosperity of their member-owners and support businesses to create a thriving economy in their communities. The principle of “purpose beyond profit” isn’t just talk – it’s a standard practice for credit unions.

Libro Credit Union is one of Central 1’s member credit unions and the largest credit union in southwestern Ontario. With International Credit Union Day taking place on October 19, we are celebrating Libro and the amazing work they do in the credit union system (and overall Canadian financial services industry).

Purpose beyond profit: Emily’s story

Emily is a proud Product Owner with Libro Credit Union.

A decade ago, she found herself at a crossroads during an appointment at a Libro Credit Union branch in London, Ontario. Little did she know that this meeting would set in motion a meaningful journey of personal and professional growth.

The meeting took a twist Emily wasn’t expecting. Knowing she was uncertain about her career, the branch manager asked: “Why don’t you come work with us?” Even though she wasn’t interested in a finance career, Emily embraced the unexpected opportunity, and began working as a teller at the London East Libro branch.

As she engaged with members, she saw the profound impact credit unions can have on their community and the lives of the people who bank with them. This experience further influenced her career growth at Libro as she moved from teller to administrative receptionist, then to the marketing and product team. And at the core of every role, she maintained a passion for the credit union system.

Emily is just one example of Libro employees who approach their work with this passion for credit unions. In their everyday interactions with members, Libro employees ask themselves: “Does this person truly need a credit card?” or “What additional support can we provide to this small business besides a mortgage?” It’s not what you’d typically expect from a bank!

Taking the credit union difference further

Beyond the committed approach Libro employees model in their work every day, Libro extends their commitment to so many aspects of their business.

This commitment is particularly apparent through their B Corp certification1 – a relatively rare achievement for a financial institution. B Corp mandates a minimum of 80 points for certification. In 2018, Libro’s score stood at 126, and as of 2021, they’ve increased to 129.2. This certification not only aligns well with the credit union model, but it’s also a quantifiable way to measure progress and hold themselves accountable to their purpose.

In a world where financial transparency and ethical standards are so important, this certification is a tangible representation of Libro’s commitment to walking the talk and substantiating their actions through verifiable data.

Empowering financial resilience with data-driven technology

Libro envisions a future where human interactions are empowered by technology and data. This vision is rooted in the coaching culture, which is aimed at fostering personal relationships with every one of their member-owners.

Financial decisions are deeply tied to life’s big moments and to better support members, in addition to its dedicated personal finance coaches, Libro equips their members with helpful tools to manage their finances effectively — even in a world of accelerated change including through their money management app, Yooli. Yooli helps members create budgets, track their spending and ultimately better understand their financial wellbeing.

Cultivating young leaders in Ontario

To inspire young generations and future credit union leaders, in 2018, Emily founded Ontario Young Leaders, a community dedicated to young professionals within the Ontario credit union system. This community serves as a unifying force for young professionals to collaborate and strengthen the credit union system together across Canada.

This October marked a milestone as Ontario Young Leaders hosted their first EMERGE conference – an event made for young professionals to learn about credit union purpose, interact with leaders and network with other emerging professionals who will be growing credit unions for years to come.

More about Libro

With a legacy spanning 80 years, Libro’s evolution into a full-service financial institution is the result of a merger of 43 distinctorganizations, each with its own rich history. Today, Libro’s 700 employees serve 113,579 member-owners and 10,637 businesses across more than 30 locations in southwestern Ontario.

In 2022, Libro was recognized with a gold rating in a new Corporate Knights report that assesses the social purpose practices of Canadian companies. Libro’s model serves as a reminder that profit and purpose can indeed coexist – a principle that could redefine the future of banking for generations to come.

To learn more about Libro visit their website or check out this great podcast that they began producing earlier this year: https://www.libro.ca/learn/moneymadebetter/