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2020 Conexus Annual General Meeting – Highlight Reel

On May 25, 2020 the Conexus board of directors, employees and members came together online for our first fully virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM). The original date of the AGM was postponed due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. To allow everyone to safely come together a fully virtual event was planned. You can watch the full recording of the AGM below.




Below find the highlights and pertinent details from the 2020 AGM.  

Presenters:

  • Joel Mowchenko, Chair of the Board
  • Eric Dillon, CEO
  • Ann Perry, Executive Director of the Circle Project
  • Annette Revet, Chief Transformation Officer and Corporate Secretary
  • Greg Pinch, Returning Officer
  • Stuart Wicijowski, Parliamentarian; and,
  • Carrie Carson, External Auditor, Deloitte
124 members, presenters and guests joined the meeting.

Response to COVID-19:

Both the Board Chair Joel Mowchenko and CEO Eric Dillon spoke about Conexus’ response to COVID-19 and the steps taken to keep members and employees safe, while also doing our part as a provincial employer to flatten the curve, serve members and manage risks. Joel spoke about how Conexus employees demonstrated our Conexus values (Be Bold & Creative, Be Authentic, Be Responsible) through the pandemic response. And spoke about solidarity as Saskatchewan people stand together and support each other from a distance while we work to stop the spread of the illness.  

Eric reported about Conexus’ response to the pandemic which resulted in working quickly to set up 50% of employees to work from home, increasing the number of people supporting the Member Contact Centre, and by helping members to bank differently during this time. Allowing members to e-sign financial documents (i.e. online document signatures) from the safety of their home was also important and this functionality was made more readily available for more financial service offerings. Additionally, many interim processes were implemented to ensure members were able to access their money quickly and effectively, with our final shift in delivering banking services safely with a service-by-appointment model introduced April 21.

2019 Highlights

Chair’s Report:

After Joel’s opening comments about Conexus’ response to COVID-19, he talked about the decision for Conexus to close nine branches across the province. This was the most difficult decision the board made during 2019.  

Conexus engaged proactively with the communities that would be affected, including holding member information sessions to help ease the transition. Conexus advisors worked directly with affected members to understand their needs and ensure a smooth transition to how we would continue to serve them. It is not lost on us how difficult it was to make those changes.  

Joel thanked everyone for their continued relationship with Conexus noting that Conexus retained well-over 90% of business from these communities. This shows that Conexus was able to continue to serve those members.  

Conexus remains committed to the communities we serve regardless of our physical locations. Part of the commitment was demonstrated through the donation of the buildings. Those locations and their new owners are listed below:

  • 5th Avenue (Regina) – Circle Project ​
  • Wallace Street (Regina) – Ignite Adult Learning  ​
  • Cupar – Town of Cupar
  • Young Branch – Village of Young & RM of Morris
  • Drake – Village of Drake​
  • Middle Lake – Three Lakes Economic Development Region Inc.​
  • Mossbank – Town of Mossbank​
The building in Chamberlin is still being finalized, and no request was made for the Spy Hill location, so Conexus will begin the tendering process.  

Commitment to Community:

At this point Joel shared a short video from the Community Investment team, on why Conexus values giving back to the community. Throughout the year Conexus donated $3.1 million via 151 donations to initiatives across the province. The 1-minute video highlighted a few of the key donations made during 2019 and can be watched at the 19:26 minute mark. 

Guest Speaker, Ann Perry:

Ann Perry, Executive Director, Circle Project, was the guest speaker for the 2020 AGM. The Circle Project was the successful recipient of the 5th Avenue Conexus building in Regina.  This organization was most deserving of the Conexus building, which once repurposed, will allow this organization to continue its important work to support the community. Ann provided her message in a pre-recorded video.  

Don’t miss this portion of the AGM, as Ann’s presentation talks about an important community-based organization while also highlighting Conexus’ commitment to community. Ann’s presentation is approximately 8 minutes and starts at the 21:55 minute time mark.

Every year Conexus donates $1 for every vote received from the director elections and the number of members that attends the AGM, for a donation of $5,500. This year the Circle Project was recipient of the donation.  

CEO Report

Cultivator:

Eric Dillon, CEO of Conexus, next gave his report beginning by highlighting that in January 2020, Cultivator celebrated its first birthday and noting some impressive 2019 milestones with a highlight video from the year. Some of those milestones include:

  • Hosted the first ever Sask Startup Summit in fall 2019
  • 32 companies incubated since the inception of Cultivator
  • 86 jobs created
  • 194 investor pitches
  • $1.7 million in private capital raised
Conexus Venture Capital Fund:

Eric then spoke about how Conexus is also supporting local businesses through the Conexus Venture Capital Fund.  

Traditionally, technology start-ups in Saskatchewan were underfunded and overlooked.  That is why in July 2019 Conexus launched the Conexus Venture Capital Fund, the first ever fund of its kind established in Canada, by a credit union. We believe by investing in this area and supporting those businesses, outsized returns will be created for investors, members and communities.  

Conexus wasn’t alone in the belief, and in its first 6 months, the fund has grown to just over $32 million with additional investors from across Saskatchewan.  

Some of the tech companies we have already invested in include:

  • Coconut Software
  • Taiv
  • Safety Tech
  • SalonScale
  • 7 Shifts
New Head Office Building:

Supporting community isn’t just something Conexus does for start-ups and small businesses.  It also does so by answering calls for help. When the University of Regina put out a call for development partners for its College Avenue Campus renewal project, we knew we had to answer the call.  

The University of Regina specifically sought proposals for development on land already marked for potential future development. By building next to Darke Hall, we’ve helped to save the University of Regina millions and made improvements that will preserve the Darke Hall as a world class performing arts center, while bringing its systems and structures up to today’s standards and codes.   

To learn more about this project and the benefits it provides to community, visit Conexusbuildingcommunities.ca

The anticipated opening of the new space is July 2020, though the project is working through many real-time delays to ensure the safety of all those working on the building during the COIVD-19 situation.  

New Features for Members:

2019 saw the discontinuation of the Global Payment Card. 25,000 cardholders were transitioned to a debit card or a Conexus Mastercard. With this change, Conexus released wide-ranging processes, services and products.  

A few changes and improvements include: ​

  • AutoPay process implemented, which allows members to have their monthly credit card payments automatically deducted from their chequing or savings account​.
  • Continued to introduce payments products to keep pace with the market. ​
  • Partnered with a leading FinTech Firm – JUDI AI – to utilize information automatically pulled from a variety of financial and other non-traditional sources to more quickly process smaller business loans of up to $250,000. A process that used to take a few days, now takes approximately six minutes! ​
  • Proud to work with another Saskatchewan FinTech Vendasta to create a pilot program of Conexus HUBB Marketing launched in December 2019. HUBB (Helping U Beyond Banking) is a digital marketing solution of small businesses.  
Financial Well-being and Financial Literacy:

Financial well-being isn’t just something we talk about, it is what we believe in passionately at Conexus and incorporated in everything that we do. So much so, that in 2019, Conexus introduced a measure on our balanced score card to measure how we are doing to improve the financial well-being of our members.   

We know 2019 was a difficult year for many in Saskatchewan, and we were encouraged to see that despite these challenges, our members were able to maintain their level of financial health.  

And financial well-being isn’t just a statement about your credit rating, but so much more.  We’ve created a formula that we live by and challenges us to bring our best every day.   

Financial Health + Financial Wellness = Financial Well-Being.  

During the AGM Eric also shared how at Conexus we believe that helping people better understand money starts well before you are at your first job or starting to think about a house. Learning about money should start while you’re still in school. Conexus was active in lobbying the provincial government to include this as part of the provincial curriculum. Eric was proud to say that we helped to make that happen. Financial literacy is now an elective that is offered to students. How great is that! 

Financial Results:

Eric ended his CEO report with the 2019 audited financial results for Conexus and highlighted:  

  • Asset growth of 4.70%
  • Our regulatory capital position was strong again at 13.40%
  • Return on assets was 0.55% and continues to contribute to our capital in the form of retained earnings even as we grow our assets
Click here for the full report on the consolidated financial statements on our website.

Director Election Results and Director Recognition:

Annette Revet, Chief Transformation Officer and Corporate Secretary, formally announced the results of the 2020 director elections, that were announced earlier on April 7. Annette Bester, Mark Borgares, Karla Hardcastle (re-elected) and Ken Kosolofski were elected this year. Annette, Mark, Karla and Ken joined the Conexus Board on April 8.  

On behalf of the board, Annette also thanked outgoing directors Curtis Kosolofski, Malcolm Eaton and Rick Pattison for their dedication and service to the Conexus Board.  

Before moving to the Q&A portion of the meeting, Joel was also recognized for his 5 years of service to the credit union system by serving on the board. 

Conclusion:

We closed the evening answering questions from members and a reminder that Conexus is available year round to answer questions. Click here for the list of ways you can reach us.  

At the conclusion of the evening Joel thanked everyone for attending our first ever fully virtual meeting, stay safe and to remember to call first Conexus first, we’re here for you.