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Crossroads continues to thrive in spite of challenges

Veronica Wilgosh voted as new board member in the Northern District of the Crossroads Credit Union.
Crossroads AGM 2022_result
Addressing the 14th annual general meeting of the Crossroads Credit Union held online on April 19, from left, were: Rhonda Fullawka, Manager of Finance and Risk; Walter Ostoforoff, Board Chair, and CEO Jeff Bisschop.

CANORA  — The Crossroads Credit Union held its 14th annual general meeting online for its membership on April 19. A total of 38 members were registered for the meeting.

Walter Ostoforoff presented the Message from the Board President, welcoming all those in attendance.

“The challenges raised by COVID-19 continued in 2021,” said Ostoforoff. “The decision was made to continue to provide dealer service to our members as safely as possible. This was accomplished by the management and staff and the cooperation of our members, including members’ use of non-contact services such as ATM, mobile banking, and virtual meetings. Thank you to all, well done.

“In spite of these difficulties, the assets of Crossroads have continued to increase,” continued Ostoforoff. “Board members are using Crossroads Credit Union as their financial institute of choice. Continued growth of Crossroads Credit Union depends upon member use of the services offered. The team of board, management and staff are continually working to provide relevant services to help meet the financial needs of the members. We are faced with trying to adapt to the ever-changing world of technology and make it available at an affordable cost. We are very interested in any feedback the members can provide about the service they receive and the service that they may need in the future. We believe that our goal is to best serve you, the member.

“Our staff has been trained to provide members with more comprehensive advice. Thank you to all staff for making the commitment to participate in additional training to provide exceptional service to our members.

“The board members continue to address all issues in an open and transparent manner with full discretion, while keeping the interests of the members in focus. Finally, I would like to thank the members for continuing to support Crossroads Credit Union. We are here to serve you and to meet your financial needs. Together we make a stronger institution that should be able to face the ongoing financial challenges to be successful.”

Jeff Bisschop addressed the meeting with the Message from the CEO.

“When 2021 began, we did not anticipate another repeat of 2020,” shared Bisschop. “But the pandemic continued to be part of our lives. 2021 was a year of unprecedented change and uncertainty. Our constant was our North Star that guided us throughout the pandemic: keep our members safe, keep our staff safe and emerge as a viable organization.

“Our team stepped up to put our members first, they adjusted to new ways of working with a strong focus on delivering tailored service to our members. This meant meeting on the farm, virtually, or at the branch, whichever provided the absolute best member experience. Crossroads helped our members financially in 2021. Our vision is that everyone in Crossroads country has the financial confidence to succeed in any direction they choose. Financial confidence is about the members’ ability to make a well-informed decision about their financial well-being whether our members are saving for retirement, buying their first home, or starting a small business. “Financially, our results were positive in 2021,” continued Bisschop. “Crossroads is the 11th largest credit union in the province by assets and we cracked the top 100 in Canada. We’ve done a lot of work to ensure our credit union remains financially stable.

 “At Crossroads, we believe in investing in our communities. In 2021 we gave more than $50,000 in sponsorship donations and Community Investment Fund allocations. In the past 12 years, that fund has allocated over $420,000 to over 120 community projects and initiatives. We are proud of our cooperative roots and helping our communities will always be a priority.”

Each year Crossroads awards $500 scholarships to help local high school graduates with their post-secondary expenses. The candidates are chosen based on their demonstration of community

involvement, extra-curricular activities, integrity, leadership, volunteer work, and academic achievement. The final selection is determined by the high school's scholarship committee and approved by Crossroads. Three $1,000 scholarships are also offered to 3 full-time students who are members of Crossroads Credit Union and have completed at least one year of studies at an

approved post-secondary institution and are continuing their studies.

“2021 was a year of change and uncertainty in an industry that remained stable for many years,” explained Bisschop. “We look forward in 2022 with renewed optimism and confidence. The Saskatchewan economy is projected to grow by 4.2 per cent. The growth is driven by strong demand for Ag products, canola and wheat, potash and oil and gas.”

Bisschop said the lifting of all COVID-19 pandemic restrictions should lead to increased activity in service-related and travel sectors, with Crossroads well-positioned to remain profitable. Changes include the rollout of exciting new initiatives: a new website, a virtual branch, and a new digital banking platform released on April 26.

Rhonda Fullawka, Manager of Finance and Risk, gave the auditor and financial reports.

“As Walter and Jeff spoke to, 2021 was a year of change and uncertainty. Yet Crossroads saw another successful year financially,” stated Fullawka.

“Our balance sheet saw strong growth of 8.2 per cent, ending the year with $327.8 million in assets, which was significantly over budget of 3 per cent. We need deposits to grow our book and to fund loans. 2021 saw significant deposit growth of 8.5 per cent, outpacing loan growth of $5.4 million, or 2.5 per cent. We also added just over 14 million to our off-book wealth portfolio, bringing it to $61 million which translates to growth of 30.75 per cent.

“Sources of income for Crossroads come from net interest margin, which is the interest earned on loans minus the interest earned on deposits and non-interest or other incomes, which includes service charges, fees, commissions, etc.” continued Fullawka. “Net interest margin remained relatively stable with only a slight increase over the prior year of $38,000 or 4.47 per cent, and other income increased 11 per cent. Operating expenses, which include everything from personnel, member security, organizational occupancy, and general business, increased by just over $457,000 or 6.75 per cent.

“However, in terms of profitability, we were able to contribute just over $1.93 million to our capital, which ended the year at a healthy 14.9 per cent. This enables Crossroads to remain sustainable and relevant to our membership,” concluded Fullawka.   

Crossroads Board of Directors election results were announced at the meeting.

In the Central District, Betty Tomilin was re-elected by acclamation and Shannon Leson was elected by acclamation for a three-year term.

In the Northern District an election was required, between Dwayne Karcha and Veronica Wilgosh, with Wilgosh elected for a three-year term. In the Western District there were no retiring terms.

Crossroads wishes to thank Jim Vewchar for serving one year on the board in the Central District, and Ivan Peterson for serving six years on the board in the Northern District.