Co-op Congress coming up in Victoria
Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada’s fifth Co-operative Congress will be taking place in Victoria, June 19 – 21. Congress 2018 will explore the theme “Co-operation in a Changing World“, with content on economic and social change and how the co-operative model can become more relevant. This year’s program also includes local co-op tours and an increased number of workshops that will be accessible to local co-operators for a nominal fee. As always, there will be numerous networking opportunities and a Gala evening with excellent food and entertainment.
Weed is serious business for Canada’s Go-To pot banker
In the down-and-out Canadian town of Smiths Falls, Bruce Linton dreamed of transforming an abandoned Hershey Co. chocolate plant into a medical marijuana factory. But the pot entrepreneur faced a crisis typical of his edgy industry: Banks shut their doors in his face.
Then Linton turned to a credit union, and found a middle-aged banker named Rob Paterson. The chief executive officer of Alterna Savings & Credit Union Ltd. seemed an unlikely financial partner. But Paterson studied the books of the business—and the marijuana company with the funky name, Tweed Inc., had found its bank. That was three years ago. Since then Peterson and Alterna have become the go-to bankers for the pot industry.
IHCO report examines state of health co-operatives
With rising demand for health services and growing pressure on public authorities from expanding healthcare expenditure, co-operatives are playing an increasingly important role in the sector.
A new report by the International Health Co-operative Organization looks at healthcare systems in 13 countries, examining challenges and the potential of health co-operatives in addressing these. The research finds that health co-ops tend to fill in gaps left by other providers, rather than compete with them.
Credit unions at risk of being pushed to the sidelines
There are reports that Internet retailing giant Amazon may enter banking and start offering financial products—and that could represent a threat to credit unions.
Amazon is an even greater threat to credit unions than big banks, warned Ted Bilke, of consulting company, Symitar.
While banks are more concerned with commercial relationships, Amazon is a tech giant that actually shares credit unions’ focus on creating a positive overall experience for consumers, he says.
“Amazon is really good at customer experience and personalization,” Bilke said. “They are going to compete directly against credit unions.” He is encouraging credit unions to be more nimble, improve customer experience, have more personalization and bring Artificial Intelligence into their model.