Connect First Credit Union celebrates anniversary of branch consolidation

·2 min read

Connect First Credit Union (CFCU) celebrated its first anniversary of serving the community under its new banner and banking system, over the weekend.

Shawndra Bodkin, branch manager of the CFCU Strathmore branch said the celebration has been a long time coming.

“All of our branches are (now) on the same banking system. A few years back, Chinook Financial — which was our branch here in Strathmore, Mountain View Financial Legacy and First Calgary, all amalgamated to create Connect First Credit Union,” said Bodkin. “One year ago, it was officially our new brand … as well as our all being on the same banking system. Prior to that, if you were a Chinook Financial member, you couldn’t go into the city and go to a First Calgary branch and do your banking because we were still all on separate systems.”

For the Strathmore community, the extension in available services boils down to a quality of life increase for branch members, as they will have broader access to financial services within the province.

“Coming together under the new brand as one just made for such a better member experience. Now we have 43 branches throughout Southern Alberta and you can go anywhere and do your banking with Connect First Credit Union,” said Bodkin. “Any kind of amalgamation … when you are (combining) four credit unions into one, it takes years to get the process complete.”

Now that the four different systems have been consolidated together, services and training throughout the conglomerate will also be more consistent.

The goal, Bodkin added, was to grow the branch and services while still being able to have a local community feel and experience of services for those who make use of the branch.

“We’ve got a lot more things that are at our fingertips, more resources and things to just make the overall member experience better,” said Bodkin. “What we are trying to do is be a bigger credit union, but still offer that small town touch, that experience of knowing people by name when they walk through the door.”

Within Strathmore, CFCU sponsors the Birth Forest and the Strathmore Stampede, among other community initiatives.

According to Bodkin, the emphasis of the amalgamation has been community orientation and drive for quality service.

“For the most part, I think the community it quite happy with what’s been going on. It hasn’t been perfect, but we are here, we are thriving, and we are doing well for the community,” she said.

An example of which, included. reported problems within the Connect First Banking app by users.

Though she was not specific to immediate events, Bodkin said she was excited for the credit union to continue its involvement to help better the local community.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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