2019 Conexus Annual General Meeting – the highlight reel

Annette RevetOn April 16, 2019, the Conexus Credit Union board of directors and employees joined members for our Annual General Meeting. To make it as easy as possible for members Studentsto attend the meeting, we offered the option to join us in person at the Conexus Arts Centre or online via our webcast. If you weren’t able to join us, you can watch the recorded webcast here.

Annette Revet, our Chief Transformation Officer and Corporate Secretary, moderated the meeting. She welcomed a group of students from F.W. Johnson Collegiate at the meeting to learn about the co-operative governance process. Emily Kelln, a second-year student in the University of Regina’s Faculty of Music, led us in singing O Canada to open the meeting. 

A focus on financial literacy
– Board Chair Joel Mowchenko shared highlights of 2018, such as our move to measure our performance against how well we improve the financial well-being of our members and communities. We aligned our work to this purpose in 2018 with a strong focus on financial literacy in schools, providing life skills that have a generational impact and change the cycle of poverty. Joel shared that after several years leading conversations about ways to reach every Saskatchewan youth with financial literacy education, Conexus is thrilled the Province of Saskatchewan plans to introduce the topic into school curriculums this fall.  

In 2018 Conexus was more focused than ever on investments that help shift the needle in areas of financial well-being. Joel shared some examples, including:   

  • building a financial literacy component into 32 community investment partnerships  
  • using The Each One Teach One program to facilitate financial literacy workshops in communities  
  • delivering a financial literacy course to the Saskatchewan Roughriders
Commitment to communities – In 2018, Conexus invested over $1.9 million to support 118 non-profit and charitable organizations across Saskatchewan. Joel shared examples including:  

  • a $100,000 donation to the Saskatchewan Hospital to help replace the province’s only psychiatric rehabilitation hospital  
  • our sponsorship of Joe’s Place Youth Centre, the only drop-in centre in Moose Jaw  
  • our three-year partnership with READ Saskatoon to support tutoring services, financial literacy programs, and literacy facilitator training and resources
  • a $50,000 capital donation to help Carmichael Outreach renovate its new building, expanding its capacity to serve Regina’s most vulnerable
Humboldt Strong – Joel took a moment to recognize the one-year anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, letting Humboldt members know we’re still thinking of them. As their financial and community partner, we have looked for ways to ease the burden of grief so many were experiencing, including:

  • accepting donations during the early days of the tragedy  
  • providing volunteers to support administrative duties, crisis communications, financial advice and community fundraisers  
Bylaw amendments – Next, Joel introduced some important bylaw changes designed to make the democratic process more consistent and inclusive. The changes resulted from a bylaw review and the board’s desire to keep pace with changes in the industry and member needs. The most significant point in the amendments is a recommendation to remove our district structure.  Joel

Today, where you live determines when you can run and when you can vote. To make sure this focus on where a candidate lives doesn’t get in the way of the process, the board is recommending all directors be elected “at large.” If approved, these changes would mean that any member could run for the board annually and members would participate in voting every year – no matter where you live. If approved, this change will give individual members greater influence over the democratic process and an opportunity to elect all members of the Conexus board – not just those that live in your district.   

Recommending candidates – Joel also explained that starting in 2020, the board plans to recommend to members candidates who align with the competencies and diversity criteria the board needs each year. “The board works hard to ensure our members are skilled and diverse – equipped as a whole to handle the challenge of leading Conexus into the future,” he said. Recommending candidates is a way to help members make an informed decision about their vote and what the board needs to provide strategic direction to Conexus.  

When it recommends candidates, the board will consider factors like competencies, location, gender and ethnicity. Geographic representation will remain a consideration but will be balanced with other factors. Ultimately, members will elect the board member of their choice.  

Joel also reminded members that all directors, no matter where they live or what district they’re elected in, have a legal responsibility (fiduciary responsibility) to represent the best interests of the membership as a whole. That’s true today – even with the district structure – and it will be true if the bylaw amendments pass  

Learn more about the bylaw amendments on our website.

After the board resolution was moved by Karla Hardcastle and seconded by Malcolm Eaton, Annette opened the floor to questions on the change. There were no questions from members in attendance or watching the webcast.

Guest speaker – The evening’s guest speaker was Katherine Regnier, CEO and Founder of Coconut Software, who participated in a fireside chat with Jordan McFarlen, manager of the Conexus Business Incubator. Katherine is a Conexus member and one of Canada's leading entrepreneurs. She’s passionate about the work Conexus is doing with Cultivator, our business incubator, and committed to helping Conexus build a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. Katherine shared:

  • her journey as an entrepreneur running a high growth fintech
  • the importance of community and spaces like Cultivator to support entrepreneurs
  • the impact start-ups can make in Saskatchewan
  • how Cultivator will make a difference to the small business community right here at home
Conexus Building Communities initiative – Conexus CEO Eric Dillon carried on the
theme, speaking about the importance of Cultivator to the credit union’s purpose. “When you love entrepreneurs and small businesses like we do, it makes perfect sense to leverage our partnership with university to create a space that helps local start-ups bring their businesses to life,” he said.

Cultivator will be located on the north side or our new office space on Regina’s historic College Avenue Campus. Eric updated members on the unique partnership with the University of Regina that led Conexus to build in that spot. In 2018 we:

  • completed all approvals required to begin construction  
  • revealed the building’s design to members in person and online
  • expanded our sharing to the whole community through public and media channels  
“We’re very proud to be chosen for this partnership and helping the university enhance the park to help save the heritage campus and creating enriched educational and cultural possibilities for our community for many, many years to come.”

We anticipate moving in to the new space in mid-2020. Eric invited members to check out the project’s progress at Conexus Building Communities website.   

New products & services – Eric highlighted the product and service changes Conexus made in 2018 to help members achieve their goals. This included:  

  • moving to a new Mastercard that gives Conexus more control over things like card features, benefits and functionality
  • launching Apple Pay on the new credit cards
  • Canada’s first authenticated voice banking service pilot using Amazon Alexa
  • an online budget calculator  
  • new Interac® features, such as Request Money, which makes it easy to collect money you’re owed without the awkward conversation
  • ClickSWITCH™, a fast, secure and convenient tool for moving recurring payments and direct deposits to your new Conexus chequing account with the click of a mouse
  • a more competitive line up of products in our Business Demand Suite
Eric also shared some of the internal changes Conexus made to more fully align its work with members’ financial well-being. This included:

  • developing a proprietary financial wellness indicator that helps us understand members’ financial well-being
  • holding ourselves accountable by starting to measure employees’ success by the financial well-being of our members  
“Our job is done when our members are financially better off by banking with us. Frankly it’s that simple,” said Eric.  

Financial results – Eric concluded by sharing the 2018 consolidated financial results and thanking Team Conexus for its contribution to another strong year:

  • Assets grew 7.59%.
  • Our regulatory capital position is strong at 13.06%.
  • Return on assets was 0.87% and we continue to contribute to our capital in the form of retained earnings even as we grow our assets.
“We had a tremendously successfully year at Conexus. I’d like to thank everyone on team Conexus for their contribution to the results.”  

For the full report and the consolidated financial statements visit our Annual Report page.

Director elections – Annette returned to the lectern to welcome and congratulate our new board members:  

  • District 1 (Regina) – Adam Hicks (new) and Kara Marchand (re-elected)
  • District 2 (Moose-Jaw/Assiniboia) – Sandra Kitts (re-elected)
  • District 3 (Fort Qu’Appelle-Moosomin) – Kathryn Pollack (new)
She also thanked all candidates for participating in the democratic process and recognized two of our now previous board members, John Benson and Jason Schenn, for their service. We wish them both the best in their future endeavors.  

Bylaw amendment vote – Joel reminded everyone that information about the bylaw changes is available online at . With a few reminders about the voting process, he declared voting on the amendments open to all members – whether they attended the AGM or not – until April 23 at 4 p.m. The board is recommending all of the amendments. Therefore, the question is posed as yes (I support the bylaw amendments presented) or no (I am not in support of the bylaw amendments). To approve the amended bylaws, 75% of participating members must vote ‘yes’ to the amendments.

Joel ended the evening noting that in accordance with legislation, the meeting would not formally “adjourn” until the voting period closes, all votes are counted and the results announced on   

Our members helped us give back to our community through their participation in the democratic process. We’re donating $1 for every director election vote, every AGM attendee and every vote on our bylaw amendment to the Saskatchewan Financial Literacy Network.