Questions & Answers

We’re sure you must have questions about the Solutions Centre.
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions we receive:

What is the Solutions Centre?

The Solutions Centre is an unincorporated membership association, currently made up of thirty-one B.C. credit unions. The Solutions Centre seeks to provide access to collaborative opportunities for credit unions by way of CUSO formation, procurement of goods and services, advocacy with vendors and contract maintenance, provision of an “information hub” and advocacy within the system.

The Solutions Centre goal is to provide value to both current and future joining credit unions in order to enhance and strengthen their business practices and the credit union system as a whole.

The Solutions Centre Vision: “We bring value to our member credit unions through Cooperation and Collaboration”

The Solutions Centre Values & Principles: Information & Intelligence, Efficiency, Collaboration & Alliances, Innovation, Responsiveness, Membership Engagement.

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Why the Solutions Centre?

In the spring of 2009 a group of 22 small- and mid-sized B.C. credit unions formed the basis for a new organization, the Solutions Centre, whose purpose was solely to act as a vehicle for building scale and scope to their individual business operations.

The founding members developed this new organization because they felt strongly that their futures as independent credit unions and their ability to provide a modern and competitive array of financial services to their members would be tied to their ability to work collaboratively.

“We all believe passionately in retaining the independence of our franchises so that we can continue to invest in our home communities and our local people.”

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What credit unions are members of the Solutions Centre?

A list of current member credit unions can be found on the “Our Story” page on this site.

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What does the Solutions Centre operations model look like?

The Solutions Centre is an independent unincorporated membership association. Solutions Centre has a Service Agreement with Central 1Credit Union (through the Strategic Solutions Consulting Group) to support day-to-day operations, to manage the portfolio of projects approved in the annual project plan and to administer supplier contacts and relationships. The Solutions Centre operates on a cost-recovery basis and runs very much like a small business.

Solutions Centre projects are voted on by member credit unions which are developed into an annual plan and budget with ad-hoc projects being added as necessary throughout the year. The Solutions Centre membership convenes annually to discuss current issues, develop proactive solutions, and share best practices

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Is the Solutions Centre a part of Central 1 Credit Union?

The Solutions Centre is an independent entity that contracts with Central 1 Credit Union (through a formal Service Agreement) for Project Management and Administrative services.  The Service Agreement has a three year term (maturing in May 2016) and services are assessed by members annually.

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Does the Solutions Centre do the same thing as a Credit Union Central?

The Solutions Centre’s goal is to provide value to members, in addition to the value they already receive from their various partners. Our mandate is to never duplicate or replicate work that is already being done by a Central. From time-to-time, we may work with various Credit Unions or Centrals to enhance a process for mutual members.

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What does the Solutions Centre governance model look like?

The Solutions Centre is governed by an elected, volunteer Advisory Committee of credit union Executives and Managers. This seven member Advisory Committee makes decisions and recommendations on behalf of the member credit unions.

With membership, each credit union is entitled to “one vote” regardless of size. This is a fundamental principal of the Solutions Centre to ensure all participants have an equal say in directing the activities and leadership of the Solutions Centre.

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What are your past achievements?

The Solutions Centre follows an annual Project Plan made up of initiatives decided upon by member credit unions. The Solutions Centre has completed over 25 projects since its inception in 2010 bringing significant value to member credit unions. So far value has taken the form of: dollars saved, dollars earned, increased efficiencies, reduced workload, etc. Completed projects include various procurement initiatives, contract alignments, CUSO formations, and information sharing and on any given project we may have 6 or 26 credit unions participating.

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What types of projects can you help us with?

The Solutions Centre focuses on a number of areas where value can be found through collaboration and communication:

Procurement
The Solutions Centre has conducted a number of successful procurement projects (RFPs, RFQs, RFIs) on behalf of member credit unions, saving participating credit unions a significant amount of money. Procurement projects can include products or services.

Credit Union Service Organizations
The Solutions Centre can help your organization create a CUSO (Credit Union Service Organization) by providing administration, research and development and project management services. The Solutions Centre can also connect your organization with like-minded credit unions.

Advocacy with Vendors & Contract Maintenance
Once a vendor has a relationship with the Solutions Centre and its member credit unions, the Solutions Centre will manage the relationship and SLAs. One point of contact allows for deeper relationship monitoring and management and often will result in issues and concerns being dealt with more swiftly.

Information Hub
The Solutions Centre acts as a centralized information hub – with emails, phone calls and website inquiries, the Solutions Centre is a place that member credit unions can ask questions, share information, and find out what other credit unions in the system are working on.

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How is the Solutions Centre different?

The Solutions Centre is driven by its membership in every sense; from credit union staff participation on projects, to volunteer Advisory Committee members. Our operations have always been very grassroots and, therefore, we can react and respond nimbly to member’s needs and requirements. The Solutions Centre operates on a cost recovery basis and has very little overhead and infrastructure. The members’ website (http://solutionscentre.ca) has all information pertinent to operations and ongoing projects and our members can review all expenses and project updates online at any time.

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How would I connect / work with you?

The Solutions Centre operates for the most part, virtually, and the majority of member communication is via email, conference call, or the website. To get in touch with the Solutions Centre, please contact us via the information on our Contact page, or reach out to an Advisory Committee member directly.

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Why did Solutions Centre open membership to all Canadian Credit Unions?

We all recognize that there are elements of our business that are mandatory but not strategic to our existence or our mission. It is in these areas where the Solutions Centre seeks out efficiencies and creates better relationships with external suppliers and also among ourselves.

In the last four years the Solutions Centre has saved its members millions of dollars through various procurement and collaborative projects. We believe there are significant opportunities to enhance sustainability for Credit Unions throughout the nation with the Solutions Centre Model.

Now it is more important than ever; Credit Unions need to band together to find ways to collaborate to share costs and build products and services that meet member demand.

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