Healthcare and Municipal Employees’ Credit Union
Taking Care of Members’ Financial Needs Since 1936
Providing both a personalized service and flexible financial options, the Healthcare and Municipal Employees’ Credit Union puts its members first
As one of the oldest Credit Unions in Ontario, the Healthcare and Municipal Employees’ Credit Union (HMECU) remains true to its mission to provide the best care for every member’s financial needs, with a commitment to outstanding member service. Founded in 1936, the credit union was born out of the needs of the nursing and hospital network in the Hamilton area, evolving to include firefighters, police, and other municipal employees. Originally a closed-bonded credit union, HMECU opened its bond in 2021 to include all of Ontario.
Jason Moran President and CEO shares, “We focus on ‘Be with you, Grow with you.’ That’s our mandate, to work very closely with all of our members to help them be financially prosperous. We want to be their trusted financial institution and really make sure that we can help them grow.”
As a credit union, HMECU is a member-controlled organization, where membership means you are part of the journey. “We do want to hear from you. It’s about making sure that we reinvest back into you, not our shareholders,” he adds.
Part of this investment includes a new initiative to ensure that the products offered by the institution suit the needs of members. “Historically, we’ve always just put a product together and launched it without the member’s lens,” Moran relays.
Recently HMECU has identified two key areas of focus – better serving the underemployed within the institution’s market group and investing in social impact banking. “There are some areas and catchments that we want to serve better within our municipality workers and within our hospital workers, making sure that the credit union is putting together a product for all walks of life, and actively seeking ways that we can serve them and provide financial services for their needs,” he elaborates.
About the social impact of banking he says, “That is making sure that when we are offering a banking service, we do it at an area of the least amount of costs, or at cost recovery. Our overall goal is to pass that savings back to those members.”
Community engagement and giving back are top priorities for HMECU, where sponsoring important initiatives like Mental Health Morning through St. Joseph’s Healthcare is crucial. The credit union has also created a foundation that will give members a unique opportunity to support charities they know and love.
Moran explains, “We are going to match our members’ deposits to registered charities to help them support causes that they are passionate about. We haven’t set a number on that yet, but I’m fairly confident that it will be close to $25,000 that we will be matching dollar for dollar with them, and really celebrate that. It allows our members to choose things that are important to them.”
The introduction of a community day will provide another chance to give back, as staff will be encouraged to spend the day volunteering in the community, at a cause that is meaningful to them.
The institution is also introducing a Plant a Tree program, which will see a tree planted for each new membership and account that comes into the credit union. This will also offer a special way to commemorate passings and celebrate special occasions.
“Really what we’re looking to do is combat a couple of different things,” says Moran. “We really want to support environmental sustainability. We also wanted to do something that had meaning and that could continue to move from generation to generation. We felt it was something that we could continue to grow, and it works with our purpose of ‘Be with you. Grow with you.”
Supporting members in a way that feels comfortable for them is something HMECU is passionate about, and how they approach every transaction. With rates being one of the biggest stressors for members.
Moran notes, “We really try to take down those barriers of stress and create a kind of a coffee conversation where you can really feel comfortable in that interaction with us.” When it comes to rates, he boasts that the credit union has been very forward-thinking, rarely offering a variable rate mortgage product.
“We always offered our members more of a fixed product with the concerns of interest rates going up. We are fairly fortunate that our members haven’t had that experience as a whole,” he elaborates.
This member support also extends to informal reach outs to members a few times a year, not to sell, but as a check-in to see how things are going. “That has really served us well,” he acknowledges.
“With our members being police, firefighters, municipality, and hospital workers, there was a lot of silence, they were just done for the day. So, we touched base, letting them know we’d be there when they wanted us to.”
Consideration and flexibility whenever possible are also extended to members. Moran conveys,
“We still follow procedures and policies. But as an example, if you missed your renewal because it got away from you and it was a month, we’re not going to move you to that higher interest rate, we’ll just move you to the one that it should have been, and we’ll give you that grace, we understand life happens.”
The introduction of technology, which was fast-tracked because of COVID, has had its advantages, especially for a credit union which Moran admits was “very hard to bring into the branch.”
Through the launch of tools like DocuSign, digital meetings, and other customized one-off services, along with a full banking system conversion, he says members have been right there, embracing the changes along with them. Implementing requirements such as having cameras on during online meetings was a way to support those who may be intimidated, showing the care HMECU has for its members.
“It’s good to see the emotion and how people are feeling and how they get to interact because some of our members are older and sometimes words can get misconstrued when you don’t see a face,” Moran asserts.
“We really brought them on an online journey and shoved them online with support. We were going down these steps, but probably we would have rolled it out over an 18-month to a 3-year period, and a little bit more methodical and handhold,” he continues.
On the subject of valued partnerships, Moran says, “We have a lot of what I would call strategic relationships or ones that are very core with us.”
He mentions banking system provider Celero as one such notable relationship. With satellite locations in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Juravinski Hospital, Hamilton General Hospital, and Burlington City Hall.
Moran maintains, “We also have relationships with our hospital partners and the City of Burlington. We have spaces in those areas where we’re able to offer day-to-day banking to members and we’re really proud of that. That’s one of our areas of differentiation.”
Two full-service advice centers are also available, one in the city of Brantford, and one in the city of Hamilton, but Moran notes that these satellite locations are ideal for HMECU. “We really get to the ground floor of where our members are. Those locations have really become an innovative hub for us. It’s evolved how we think of our interactions within that community, it’s helped us look at it through a different lens, which is really exciting.”
Future plans include a major renovation at the credit union’s flagship Limeridge location. As for other growth, Moran remarks that there will be a focused effort on deepening relationships with existing members, in an effort to further improve service offerings and meet their needs.
“We have 11,000 members and we’re a $323 million Credit Union. We should be a $600 million credit union based on our membership size. So really, we don’t need to grow memberships, we need to deepen our relationship with our existing members and have them invite their friends and family because that’s really where we want to grow.”
As a final thought, Moran offers a message to HMECU members, saying, “We really want to thank you. We’ve been on a journey over the last couple of years and you’ve shown us a ton of grace. That means the world to us as we continue to move forward, and we look forward to seeing you soon.”
AT A GLANCE
Healthcare and Municipal Employees Credit Union
What: An 11,000-member credit union serving healthcare and municipal employees
Where: Locations in Hamilton, Brantford, and Burlington Ontario