May is Asian Heritage Month — a time to celebrate and learn more about the history and contributions of Asian communities in Canada. Amidst Canada’s financial landscape, where big banks often take centre stage, the Taiwanese Canadian Toronto Credit Union (TCTCU) stands out as a beacon of community empowerment. This month, we take immense pride in spotlighting this member credit union.

Emerging from the shared vision of a group of Taiwanese students pursuing higher education in Canada, TCTCU initially aimed to assist immigrants in overcoming financial obstacles. Over time, it has blossomed into a foundation of the Taiwanese community in Ontario, offering a comprehensive suite of financial services to its 1,000 plus members.

Small but mighty

Tina Wang, TCTCU’s Board Chair, reminisces about the 70s when, “it was very hard for new immigrants and students to open a bank account in Canada or access other financial services,” she recalls. “So, we decided to help each other formally by registering as a credit union.” With determination and resilience, they laid the foundation for what would become a financial institution now serving 90 per cent of the Taiwanese community in Ontario.

In an ever-changing financial landscape, TCTCU has remained resilient, embracing technological advancements while staying true to their mission of serving generations of Taiwanese communities, their families and businesses. From initially focusing on savings and loans in the 70s and 80s, the credit union then adapted to the shift towards online services. Additionally, they introduced registered financial products like TFSA and RRSP, along with offering index-linked term deposits in recent years, the credit union has leveraged extensive opportunity to build a comprehensive portfolio for all generations. “We may be small, but we have everything you need in banking,” Tina proudly states.

Sandra Lu, TCTCU’s CEO, emphasizes the institution’s strong foundation and cooperative principles. “The Taiwanese credit union’s foundation is solid because of our founding members’ vision, solid governance and spirit of mutual support,” she remarks, underscoring the collective effort that sustains the institution to this day.

Bridging communities

TCTCU is a hub for community engagement. Through annual gatherings and outreach events, the credit union cultivates a sense of belonging, uniting individuals across different social groups. Their commitment to inclusivity and accessibility is evident in practice, with all communications available in Taiwanese, Mandarin and English. The entire staff is proficient in these languages, ensuring effective support for all members.
The credit union also champions financial literacy for youth through initiatives like the Money Master Youth Camp, a great chance to learn how to manage money and distinguish between “need” and “want” in interactive games. By empowering the next generation with financial skills and values, TCTCU is actively preparing the next generation for financial success.

Charting the path forward

TCTCU envisions a future where technology and tradition converge, empowering members to navigate financial complexities with confidence.

Tina reflects on the journey of TCTCU, expressing their ambition to attract younger generations. “Looking forward, our goal is to engage more younger members of the community,” she shares. Sandra echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the vital role of technology in driving the credit union forward. “Nowadays, you can’t move far if you don’t have technology to support you,” she asserts. This dual focus on innovation and heritage forms the cornerstone of TCTCU’s approach to growth.

Central to this vision is the recognition of the diverse needs of different generations across their membership. TCTCU endeavors to cater to both the loyal senior group — welcome them to the branch as if it’s their living room — and the younger demographic with personalized services and financial products. From traditional banking services to tech-savvy solutions like eTransfer and mobile wallets, TCTCU strives to meet the evolving needs of its members across all age groups.

But growth isn’t just about numbers: it’s about community and empowerment. Board members like Tina and all others dedicate countless hours to serving the community, “We are strong because we are tightly knit,” she says, highlighting the collective effort that propels TCTCU forward. At the heart of this institution lies a vision, one that embraces the future while honouring tradition, and one that is passionately championed by its leaders like Tina, all directors and Sandra.

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