"We had a very good year in spite of the very different circumstances that we found ourselves in."

That is how the Chief Executive Officer for Steinbach Credit Union is describing their last year. SCU held its annual general meeting on Tuesday and Glenn Friesen says it was a year that saw them get to $9.1 billion in assets and grow to more than 106,000 members.

It was also a year that started with the lowest interest rates in Canadian history and ended with the fastest growing interest rates in many, many generations. 

Friesen says in 2022, SCU grew by 7,708 new members, while assets grew by 9.35 per cent. There was an increase in deposit accounts of 6.61 per cent and 8.75 per cent in loan accounts. 

This year the membership re-elected board members Jayson Barkman, Jeremy Hildebrand and Matt Kehler to the SCU Board of Directors. The Board of Directors elected Maria Reimer as Board Chair, Bruce Penner as First Vice-Chair, and Chris Goertzen as Second Vice-Chair.

Friesen says SCU is again sharing profits in the form of a $10 million cash bonus with members. The bonus will be shared with members who hold both deposit and lending accounts. The breakdown of this allocation will be 55 per cent to deposit holders and 45 per cent to credit holders. As an example, if a member paid $4,688.45 in interest on their mortgage in 2022, they can expect an approximate bonus of $82.05, which equates to a 1.75 per cent refund on interest already paid. Similarly, members who received $1,250 in interest on their savings accounts in 2022 would receive a member bonus of approximately $52.75, which translates to a 4.22 per cent bonus on interest already received. 

Meanwhile, in looking ahead to this year, Friesen says he is hopeful that interest rates have peaked but says there may be room for another quarter-point jump. 

"My hope is that it would drop a little bit, not get back to the low, low rates that we saw at the beginning of the year, but somewhere in between that three to four per cent as opposed to six to seven per cent that we are in now," he says.

SCU operates three branches, one in Steinbach and two in Winnipeg, employing more than 500 people. Friesen says they are still working out plans for a major upgrade to their Linden Ridge Branch on McGillivray Boulevard. He notes they are hoping for an answer by early summer on whether or not they can do a complete rebuild or if they can only do major renovations. Friesen says construction could start as early as fall.