Strong profit and focused strategic investment feature in Central 1’s 2018 financial results
VANCOUVER, BC (February 22, 2019) — Central 1 Credit Union (Central 1) today announced its fourth quarter and 2018 results, featuring robust profit and increased investment in strategic initiatives to deliver the solutions required for the future of the credit union system in Canada.
“We’re investing in strategic initiatives to support credit unions as they meet the expanding expectations of Canadians for financial services and related solutions,” said Mark Blucher, President and CEO of Central 1. “This year we made progress towards our goals, while clarifying our aspirations for the future. We rounded out our leadership team with enhanced expertise and delivered a strategic plan to enable a transformed ecosystem for the future of banking to our members and clients––with flexible digital platforms and cost-effective, powerful funding programs and financial products. As we continue to transform, there is still work ahead of us; several strategic initiatives continue into 2019 and beyond.”
In 2018, Central 1 progressed in the development of Forge, our new smart user experience (UX) platform, which we launched in October with its official name. Built on Backbase’s global-leading digital platform, Forge will put control in the hands of clients, providing the flexibility to design and configure their digital branch with an unparalleled user experience. We’re collaborating with early adopter clients on the development and launch of two initial products, and we continue to invest in this foundational platform to realize new client development opportunities. Forge will be the foundational platform of Central 1’s digital services as we move forward, while we continue to deliver innovative products such as those for small business customers and authenticated, voice-activated banking.
To enhance value in our payments business, we continued to focus on building scale by offering services outside the credit union system. In 2018, we increased scale, and the overall volumes allow us to lower prices on related products for each of our members. We believe this demonstrates Central 1’s ability to also serve larger scale financial institutions. In addition, throughout the year, Central 1 has taken steps to further support, educate and lead our clients through the ongoing Payments Modernization initiatives impacting the industry.
During the year, Treasury took opportunities to expand its client-base in other regions in Canada and to increase the depth of its product offerings. In the spirit of our dedication to social responsibility, we signed the UN supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), joining more than 2,000 other organisations around the world that have publicly demonstrated their commitment to including environmental, social and governance factors in our investment decision making and practices.
Our total assets of $16.9 billion at December 31, 2018 decreased $1.1 billion from a year ago, with the majority of the decrease due to the withdrawal of Coast Capital Savings Federal Credit Union’s (Coast Capital) mandatory deposits, as a pre-requisite for Coast Capital to continue as a federal credit union, effective November 1, 2018. Excluding Coast Capital’s withdrawals, our total assets would have increased $0.4 billion from a year ago.
Profit after tax of $82.9 million for 2018 increased $34.3 million from last year. This provides a return on average equity of 7.2 per cent compared to 4.4 per cent in 2017, and an increase in our Tier 1 Capital Ratio to 37.4 per cent from 35.7 per cent in 2017.
Interest margin expanded in 2018 due to changes in our asset mix and higher interest rates. Net financial income of $58.0 million decreased $15.6 million year-over-year primarily driven by net realized and unrealized losses which were $42.8 million higher year-over-year, partially offset by higher interest margin.
Non-financial income from our foreign exchange services and increased revenue from growth in Interac e-Transfer® volumes along with one-time gains totaling $82.9 million realized from transactions surrounding our system affiliates contributed to the majority of the increase in profit. To support future growth, we continued to make significant investments in our strategic initiatives including the development of Forge.
Central 1’s annual Management’s Discussion and Analysis and annual Financial Statements have been filed with SEDAR and posted at www.sedar.com and www.central1.com/investor-relations.
About Central 1 Credit Union
Central 1 cooperatively empowers credit unions and other financial institutions who deliver banking choice to Canadians. With assets of $10.9 billion as of September 30, 2023, Central 1 provides critical
services at scale to enable a thriving credit union system. We do this by collaborating with our clients, developing strategies, products, and services to support the financial well-being of their more than five million diverse customers in communities across Canada. For more information, visit www.central1.com.