First Calgary Financial, Chinook Credit Unions to Keep Their Names in Merger

November 1 deal means better technology, more services

Kurt Bauschardt Blue-winged teal pair

First Calgary Financial and Chinook Credit Union Ltd. customers can expect enhanced service and a better product line after the merger, when Alberta’s second- and third-largest credit unions merge to form Connect First Credit Union.

Paul Kelly, current president and CEO of First Calgary Financial and future CEO of Connect First Credit Union, says one benefit clients will immediately notice as of Nov. 1 is a 24-hour full service call centre.

First Calgary Financial established the call centre several years ago, but it did not operate 24 hours a day. With the two organizations merging, there are additional resources to extend hours and provide enhanced service. Chinook Credit Union customers will now have call-centre access that the rural Alberta financial institution didn’t have previously.

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly

The product lineup is also growing for clients of both credit unions, thanks to the merger. And looking ahead, Kelly notes that with more robust financial resources as a single unit, Connect First Credit Union clients can expect better technology to enhance their customer experience.

“We can extend products from one region to the other (and have) the ability to invest in more technology by having more scale,” Kelly says. “For example, First Calgary Financial has developed a mobile app which Chinook doesn’t have, so we can extend that.

“There are a number of things, from a pure product and service perspective, where there’s more scale and the ability to leverage what the two credit unions have previously done which will be a direct benefit to the members.”

“One benefit clients will notice as of November 1 is a 24-hour full-service call centre.”
— Paul Kelly

First Calgary Financial and Chinook Credit Union are merging. However, members decided that the original brand of each organization is important, so both credit unions will retain their names, Kelly says. The new Connect First Credit Union will act as a holding company that will be responsible for finances, human resources and governance.

First Calgary Financial and Chinook Credit Union will also have their own designated presidents who will drive member experience.

“Both credit unions have built up significant brand equity and familiarity over the years and we felt that it was an important component to continue,” Kelly says.

“The other big reason we did it is because the markets are quite different. If you think of what the needs and the requirements are from a banking point of view for a member in an urban centre like Calgary, versus a member in a very small rural community in rural Alberta, they’re quite different.”

This is Part 2 of a two-part story.

If you have feedback on this story, please call the newsroom at 800-294-0051, ext. 23, or e-mail Deron Hamel.

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