Annual Report


The path to a

future proof


The world is changing and so is the nature of how we work. Innovation and shifting consumer behaviour are driving financial institutions to update their operating models and fast. While we never know what the future holds, what we do know is that ten years from now, the credit union operating landscape will bear little resemblance to the system of today. The question is are we ready for the future, now?

In 2019 Alberta Central considered that question. We determined that while our core services are solid and have been well received for over 50 years, that won’t necessarily carry us into the future. So we began our journey toward becoming future ready. We streamlined our processes, welcomed a new approach to how we do our work by encouraging innovation, agility and the curiosity necessary to add value to our members and the system. We reviewed our existing products, services and solutions in our core business lines and discovered ways to add more value for credit unions –such as expanding commercial lending relationships and launching a new deposit product.

This was only the beginning, as we knew we needed to do more.

In 2019, Alberta Central took decisive future-focused action. The impetus for this was the embracing of a necessary evolution. We knew we needed to do more.

We live in a sharing economy where billions of people and businesses acquire, provide or share access to products and services. We see a role for Alberta Central within this value chain. What this means is anticipating member credit union needs, creating and sourcing innovative solutions, and exploring partnerships both inside and outside provincial borders. We need to move forward as a marketplace connector – providing access for our members to a range of products, solutions and partnerships to position them as market leaders.

The move to Payments-as-a-Service with IBM through a new joint venture of prairie centrals, is our first significant step in building those connections. With this agreement, credit unions will have access to the most efficient, cost-effective and modernized payments processing infrastructure that will help drive and support innovation for credit union members.

Championing the credit union system is Alberta Central’s purpose. That means looking ahead to where we think the system is going – today – and not waiting for that future to come to us. We have much more to imagine. And much more to become.

Chair Message

Future focused


for sustainability and success

In my first year as Board Chair, I was very pleased and proud of the evolution I saw in Alberta Central but also in the mindsets of the board of directors. Over the years, the primary role of our board has always been to steward the organization with a line of sight to the success of the credit union system by providing oversight to strategic plans and priorities that created value while still aligning with our risk appetite.

So through a collaborative process, the board and management developed and committed to a vision that would see Alberta Central as a marketplace connector. We also acknowledged the need to ask better questions, engage in healthy discussion about the pressures of new directions and innovation while considering short-term strategic business needs and risks. Finally, we committed to supporting management to pivot if signals emerge to do so.

The Prairie Payments Initiative is a significant step for the organization and the system. It’s approval indicates to me a shared reawakening to credit union roots of being innovators. It signals a clear appetite for future sustainability and the recognition that evolution is not an option, it’s table stakes.

On behalf of the board of directors, thank you to the Alberta Central team and to member credit unions for an excellent year. We do what we do because we believe in the value and success of the credit union system. We appreciate your continued support and feedback.


2019 saw a slight decrease in the number of credit unions and members but increased system assets

Full-Time Employees
System Members
In System Assets
In System Equity
In System Earnings*

*Net income before tax and patronage bonus. Data as of October 31, 2019

Alberta Central working to create value for members to build a stronger system

Highlights of work in 2019 include:

Prairie Payments Initiative (PPI) work results in new PaaS partnership with IBM.
  • The seven largest prairie credit unions continued to develop a payments future direction strategy as a part of the PPI.
  • Following the review of multiple options, the PPI signed an agreement to move to a Payments as a Service (PaaS) model with IBM.
  • This solution will deliver the most efficient, cost-effective, modernized payments processing infrastructure which will enable increased innovation and competitive product offerings.
Credit union awareness campaigns build understanding about credit unions with Albertans.
  • Efforts to increase awareness of credit unions among Albertans saw the execution of public relations, influencer marketing and media relations campaigns.
  • Enhanced digital presence including a new website to help build awareness.
Technology Centre of Expertise (TCoE) Developed for System Support.
  • The TCoE was established to determine where Alberta Central could help credit unions determine the areas where expertise could provide the greatest benefit to members.
  • Technology needs were identified as potential starting point.
  • Consulted with credit unions to gain a better understanding of their desired areas of support required.
  • Completed a technological ‘current state’ and related technology gaps within Alberta’s credit union system.
  • While initially focused on technology, more comprehensive identification occurred of broader needs not being met in an optimal manner within the system.
  • Analysis will lead to the design and execution of the delivery model over the subsequent two years.
Legislative review helped to create a more level playing field.
  • The Alberta credit union system continued to experience considerable regulatory and environmental pressures.
  • Alberta Central completed a review of the legislation and regulatory framework in consultation with credit unions and proposed amendments that would better position credit unions and Alberta Central to continue to operate and enhance their competitiveness.
  • As a result of Alberta Central and the system lobbying of key officials, the Alberta government shifted its policy approach to begin to create a more level playing field within the financial services sector.
Dues Governance Task Force (DGTF) work to ensure relevant dues program and governance structure.
  • The DGTF occurs every four years to ensure ongoing applicability and relevance of Alberta Central’s dues programs and governance structure.
  • The task force reviewed the formula for the assessment of dues, the application of dues to dues funded programs, director representation, delegate entitlement, region boundaries and other matters as directed by the board.

Building for a future ready system now

As a central, we will continue to work hard in 2020 to embrace change, be bold, innovate in all that we do and enable the system to thrive now and into the future. Our focus for 2020 and beyond is to build and operationalize the foundation to becoming a marketplace connector. Our strategic pillars include:

MD&A Financials

This section of the annual report reviews and analyzes the results of operations and financial condition of Alberta Central for the year ended December 31, 2019. The content within this MD&A will give you clear insight into where we are now, and in how we are looking ahead towards the future.

View the MD&A