This week we held our AGM online- a first for us. The theme of my remarks was resolve, resilience and return. I continue to see extraordinary examples of the resolve and resiliency that comes from working together to help Canadians. As our industry and country begin to map out a return to normal, we recognize a new normal will be established. You have my commitment that our team at Central 1 is ready to deliver essential products and services to you, while helping you accelerate and transform your digital banking and payments experience.
Digital Banking, Forge and MemberDirect®
With the increase in digital banking usage by your members and customers, Forge and MemberDirect continue to perform exceptionally well. We have 165 clients committed to Forge- over half of all credit unions across Canada- which means two million Canadians will have access to the platform through their financial institutions. We currently have many implementations in progress. With Canadians shifting to digital banking faster than ever before we are here to support you in delivering this enhanced and innovative digital-first experience to your members and customers.
We continue to progress quickly with Forge, building out platform innovation and product capabilities. We have completed the Forge Business MVP on schedule and will be reaching out to show our partners the exciting experience we have developed.
Direct Deposit for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsity (CEWS)
Central 1 is once again working with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and Payments Canada to establish a direct enrollment process for employers to receive the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) quickly and securely through our MemberDirect and Forge digital banking platforms.
With only one-third of Canadian companies currently registered for CRA direct deposit, the CRA estimates it would need to send approximately 4.5 million cheques over the next four weeks. To ensure fast and secure payments, the Forge and MemberDirect forms will allow employers to register business payroll accounts for direct deposit with the CRA. To implement CEWS direct deposit for your business members and customers, please reach out to your Relationship Manager.
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
For the past two weeks, Central 1 has worked diligently with EDC, CCUA, Accenture, and the other Centrals to quickly make the CEBA program available to credit unions who were not accredited by the EDC. On April 24, we rolled out agreements to 67 credit unions with an ask to sign and return the documents as fast as possible in order to meet EDC’s deadline. We are pleased to share that on April 25, all additional 67 credit unions are now CEBA-approved and able to provide this important program to small business members.
Central 1 has created CEBA Loan Application forms in both MemberDirect and Forge to allow business members to complete and apply for the loan. We have also created a CEBA ServiceNow solution for credit unions accredited through Central 1. If you have any questions please contact your Relationship Manager.
Our MemberDirect and Forge digital banking platforms have processed over $230 Million in loans, and thousands of small business applications, through CEBA. Our Chief Digital and Payments Officer, Arvind Sharma, shares more about this on his blog.
CRA’s Direct Deposit for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
Our Client Support team has implemented the CRA Direct Deposit for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit on Forge and MemberDirect for over 160 clients and growing. We also recently launched the CRA Direct Deposit form for CEBA on the Forge Mobile App. For more information please reach out to your Relationship Manager.
Treasury and Market Update
Our economics team is closely monitoring and analyzing trends, conditions, and important economic changes on the horizon. In the past week, one of our economists, Bryan Yu, wrote a report for Business in Vancouver on how COVID-19 is impacting employment. He also featured in a BC Business analysis of the economic outlook for B.C.’s economy and in a report on Vancouver home sales. The team also published their weekly economic forecasts for B.C. and Ontario.
Interac has shifted the mandated date obligating members to be able to receive Interac Instant (the new functionality which will provide real-time, data-rich payment capabilities) to June 2021, from its original date of November 2020. Central 1 continues to develop Interac Instant as planned.
We are continuing to discuss Interac Instant launch plans with many clients. If you are interested in launching the solution in 2021, please contact your Relationship Manager and we can begin the planning process. We anticipate the trend of increased e-transfers to continue beyond the current COVID-19 crisis, therefore Interac Instant will be a valuable feature for consumers and businesses as their payments patterns evolve and change.
Keeping you informed
I will continue to send you regular updates to provide you with a summary of our actions and important highlights on how Central 1 can support you and your members. In addition, we have dedicated pages for COVID-19 updates on Secure Site and Central1.com, as well as daily updates through The Hub.
President and CEO
Central 1 Credit Union