Welcome New Directors!

At the 40th Annual General Meeting elections were held to fill two vacancies as a resulf of George De La Rosa and Dave Schurman having reached their maximum nine year term limit.

We are pleased to announce Joanne Battaglia was elected to a three-year term.

Joanne Battaglia is a strategic marketing professional with over 25 years of experience in retail, B2B and the financial services industry. She has held senior Marketing positions with such companies and Dylex, Diversy, Kodak, CUMIS and Canadian Tire Financial Services. She joined FirstOntario Credit Union in 2011 as Director of Marketing & Product Strategy and held this role for several years. In 2018, she was promoted to the role of Vice President Marketing, Communications & Community Partnerships. In this role, Joanne leverages her marketing expertise, passion for community social responsibility and innovative approach to business to create impact in the communities that FirstOntario serves.

Joanne is active in the community, and is regularly seen supporting FirstOntario’s corporate sponsorship at various community events. She also serves as Vice- President on the Stoney Creek Chamber board, Director on St. Joseph’s Villa Foundation board and Director on the Hamilton Bulldogs Foundation.

Joanne resides in Stoney Creek with her husband, and as two children off attending university and pursuing their dreams.

Adam Kirilo was also elected to a three-year term.

Adam Kirilo is the Vice President of Operations & Finance at Luminus Financial. He started in the Credit Union idustry in 2006, joining the Audit Committee for Food Family Credit Union. Adam became Chair of the Board and an instrumental voice to lead merger discussions as his vision and determination proved influential amongst the other Directors. Adam continued his leadership on the Board as FFCU joined Luminus Financial in 2011. As Luminus Financial grew, its development fostered interest from Adam to join the Senior Management Team; to which he stepped down from the Board in early 2014 to live the dream of working for his Credit Union on a daily basis.

Adam is a Chartered Professional Accountant with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McMaster University. He led the integration of an enterprise content management system, Laserfiche, and helped earn Luminus Financial a Run Smarter Award for Best Human Resources Initiative at the 2017 Laserfiche Empower Conference. He has governed a handful of minor sports organizations but currently enjoys watching his son play high level baseball and his daughter skate across the ice.

Frugina Ball elected Vice Chair

The OCUF Board is pleased to announce Frugina Ball, Region Head, Member Experience, Greater Toronto Area for Alterna Savings, was elected to the role of Vice Chair of the Board following the Annual General Meeting on March 28th.

Board Chair Dan Coldwell commented “Frugina joined our Board in 2017. She brings a commitment to strengthen the OCUF value proposition. Her enthusiasm is infectious! We welcome her experience and wisdom on the Executive Committee.”

Frugina joined Alterna in 2013. Prior to that she worked for two decades with one of Canada’s premier financial institutions fulfilling a District Vice President role, as well as Vice President and Market Lead for their Wealth Management division.  Frugina holds a MBA from Queens University.

Alterna President & CEO Rob Paterson has this to say, “Frugina is a talented leader. She is able to connect well with her team and gains trust easily. She navigates the organization well, building strong relationships and getting the best out of everyone. She commits to achieving excellence in her role and achieves it.”

Fellow Board Director Elisabeth van der Pol from WFCU Credit Union was very pleased with the election of Frugina to Vice Chair. “Frugina brings a lot to our Board. Her common-sense approach to issues and the creative way she looks at opportunities inspires her fellow Directors.”

Joanne Battaglia, Vice President, Marketing, Communications & Community Partnerships at FirstOntario Credit Union and Adam Kirilo, Vice President of Operations & Finance at Luminus Financial were both elected to three-year terms. 

Friend of Foundation Inductees 2019

Ontario Credit Union Foundation inducted three new “Friend of the Foundation” recipients to our hall of fame.

Over the years, OCUF has recognized individuals and organizations who have contributed significantly to our Foundation. An award is not necessarily given each year. The recipients join a list of very impressive contributors to the Foundation. Our first award was presented in 1992, and since then we have made 40 appointments. We have awarded 10 Friend of the Foundation awards to organizations, and 30 to individuals.

This year we recognized three individuals. Elisabeth van der Pol from WFCU Credit Union officiated the inductions.

Two of our inductees, Dave Schurman (FirstOntario) and George De La Rosa (Luminus Financial) are stepping down from the OCUF Board of Directors having reached their nine-year term limit. Dave and George have been active supporters, cheerleaders, and ambassadors of OCUF. They have steered the strategic direction of the Foundation while ensuring programs were efficiently implemented. Dave served for six years as Secretary/Treasurer, and the last three years as Vice Chair. Both have served on various Board committees either as a member or Chair. Three years ago, George was instrumental in the launch of the CU Succeed Youth Bursary, working closely with an external marketing agency and the Executive Director. We are going to miss them.

Our third inductee is someone who’s name was synonymous with OCUF. She was the face of the Foundation for a decade. Her smile, gregarious personality, and loud laugh enamoured her to anyone she encountered. She managed the affairs of the organization working closely with Tony Niessen for nine years, and for one year with Clayton. It seemed that she knew everyone in the Credit Union space in Ontario as well as major industry suppliers. She is now a key team player with PenFinancial. Of course, we are talking about the incredible Devon Rowan.

We are very grateful for the many years of service provided by Dave, George and Devon. Congratulations on formally being recognized as a Friend of the Foundation!

Devon Rowan, Elisabeth van der Pol, Dave Schurman, George De La Rosa wtih Aliyana

PenFinancial wins 2019 Outstanding Corporate Achievement Award

The Ontario Credit Union Foundation announces PenFinancial Credit Union was selected as the 2019 Outstanding Corporate Achievement Award recipient. The award is present annually to a member credit union in recognition of their contribution to the community.

OCUF Board Director Kevin Connolly stated, “Our intent is to recognize community impact, which can take many forms. Our review process involves assessing the submission in five key areas: Description of Community Investment, Community Impact, Recognition Received, Submission Presentation, and Power of “the story.” As in past years, the quality of our submissions was very high, making it a challenge to select a winner.”

Fellow adjudicator, Scott Windsor praised, “Congratulations on your Truly Local Commitment strategy and program.  It clearly differentiates your brand and is grounded in “the difference of being local” that has come to define credit unions.”

CEO Ken Janzen accepted the award on behalf of PenFinancial, then introduced a short video he called their “Rally Cry” which outlined their commitments to their staff, members and market area.

Congratulations PenFinancial.

Click on the photo above to watch the video

Corporate Award Nominations Open

The 2019 Outstanding Corporation Achievement Award nominations opened today. Deadline is 4 pm on March 7, 2019. The award will be presented at our AGM on March 28th.

The award is presented annually by OCUF to a member credit union in recognition of their contribution to their community.

We recognize those whose invest in the community is above normal expectations in one or more of the following ways:

  • A single project or program supported financially or otherwise during the preceding year,
  • An ongoing pattern or record of community investment continuing over an extended period through to and including the preceding calendar year,
  • A major new activity, program or commitment started during the preceding calendar year.

More details on the award.

Past winners.

2018 Recipient’s Map


The map above shows where each of our 2018 CU Succeed Youth Bursary students live.

As you might expect, a large number are in the Windsor to Ottawa corridor. If you are thinking Sudbury was our furthest point north, look again.

Look in the top left corner. Yes, north west of Thunder Bay is a small township called Ignace located about halfway between Thunder Bay and Kenora and is on the shore of Agimak Lake. The 2016 census has the population at 1,202. Ignace is the gateway to northern Ontario’s remote waterfalls, rivers and lakes – as well as the forests that surround them. It’s a popular destination for serious wilderness experiences – think fly-in fishing, hunting and camping. They also boast some of the most majestic sunsets you will find in the province. Some will say if you have never eaten at the Burger Scoop on Main Street, you haven’t lived life to the fullest. We bet you didn’t know much about Ignace, but now you do.

Our bursary recipient, Riley is a member at the local Alterna Savings branch.

Comtech Fire Opens New Branch

Congratulations to Comtech Fire Credit Union on the opening of their new branch at 531 Danforth Avenue (just west of Carlaw). The branch has a “fire” theme, with old extinguishers, fire hydrants and other fire fighting paraphernalia. The space is airy and welcoming.

The exterior as you can see in the photo to the left, really stands out on the street. Pictured is Kevin Connolly, Chief Marketing Officer, along with Sparky who needs no introduction. Sparky, along with Comtech Fire Board Vice Chair Mike Neely,  brought along a pink fire truck to help raise awareness and funds for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

Standing in front of the truck, in a very brisk north wind, are Comtech Fire Credit Union Manager of HR Shelley O’Connor beside OCUF Executive Director Clayton Shold. For the fashionistas out there, you will note Clayton is wearing a suitably appointed Toronto Fire Fighters cap. Pulling out the blue from his blazer and his eyes, it also accents the matching fire truck! Sadly, it was noted he doesn’t meet the height criteria to be a firefighter.

Best wishes to everyone at Comtech Fire on your new location!

2018 Bursary Recipients



The OCUF Board is very pleased to announce the 38 outstanding community engaged post-secondary students for 2018.  Bursary awards totalled $75,000 and ranged from $1,000 to $3,000.

Students have to demonstrate their commitment and involvement within their community as well as financial need. This year four reviewers adjudicated applications to select those appearing to the left.  Liisa Woolley (Your Neighbourhood) commented “every year the decisions become more difficult as there are so any deserving applications.” Fellow reviewer Kevin Connolly (Comtech Fire) stated “it is great to see the many different credit unions represented with bursaries being distributed all across Ontario.” A total of eighteen credit unions were represented by award recipients in 2018.

We had many notes of thanks from the students for our supporters and sponsors. A bursary recipient for the third time,  Julia D. wrote “The CU succeed bursary has given me the freedom to focus on my education in order to achieve my academic and future career goals. I am forever thankful to those who support this bursary, as your support makes a big difference and allows students more flexibility during the school year.”

To date OCUF, through the amazing support of credit unions campaigns, supporters and sponsors at our annual golf tournament fundraiser, have provided $186,000 in bursaries to 116 students.


Alterna Milestone Magic

We asked Alterna Savings what contributed to their fantastic CU Succeed Youth Bursary campaign where they raised and contributed an incredible $11,000!  Their marketing team shared some insights.

For the CU Succeed bursary all our GTA branches got involved and raised a HUGE amount and we couldn’t be prouder. This was a cause that was very close to the hearts of our executive team because not being able to afford climbing tuition should never be a reason that a young person isn’t able to learn, grow and be involved with a community of like-minded individuals. This is already a cause our staff are dedicated to annually, so we kicked it up a notch this year by incentivizing the fundraiser to really rally the troops. The main way our branches fund raised was by participating in community events and engaging our personal and non-personal members in branch.

There were many initiatives and we wanted to highlight a few to share ideas others might want to do in their campaign next year. Bramalea branch came together and created a great basket of goodies for Father’s Day. This simple and timely idea generated a very impressive $710 for as they put it, “a great cause!”

Say “Cheese!” is what we think the photographer might have said when they took the photos on the right. Alterna’s Lakeshore branch and Marketing team decided to put on their chefs’ hats for the Bursary campaign. The branch took over the great Grilled Cheese Challenge hosted by the Lakeshore BIA and was able to raise over $700 for the CU Succeed Youth Bursary Fund. We have no idea how many sandwiches were flipped but it had to be a lot!

In celebration of their 110th birthday, the team at the Ottawa and Toronto head office came together to raise funds for the CU Succeed Youth Bursary with the exclusive Alterna 110 specialty baseball t-shirt. We are told they are softer than your favourite blanket, comfier than your go-to pyjamas and more stylin’ than any company-branded shirt you’ve ever seen. “By sharing the proceeds of the t-shirts to such a great cause, these shirts are extra special for us all at Alterna.”

Frugina Ball, Region Head, Member Experience, GTA, commented “We are very grateful to have such a caring staff and supportive member base. This year we set the bar high at $11,000 for our 110th birthday on September 3rd this year and are ecstatic we reached it!”

What an achievement! Thank you Alterna, you have proven Together – We are stronger!

PS – Happy 110th! That is an amazing milestone.

Luminus Delivers!

Luminus Financial may not be the biggest Credit Union in Ontario but you may not want to get in the ring with them! Pound for pound they more than pull their weight.

In the recent CU Succeed Youth Bursary Campaign (and for the second year running) the Luminus team went to work. Led by Member Relations Manager Joanna Cheng, a number of people from various departments including Karen Oliveira, Daniel Marnicki and Lesya Gotsko, came together to drive the campaign. Joanna commented “I knew the success of the campaign would come from increased team work so I chose a small group of champions from various departments to represent the Youth Bursary.”

The group initially met and brainstormed specifically on FUN and simple ways to fund raise funds. Ideas included a 50/50 draw, pasty sale, book sale and initiating donation fees to work from home or wear jeans to the office. Key to their success was to share their campaign initiative with family and friends and committed to completing a mini work walk-a-thon to ramp up donations. Luminus shared their fund raising story and CU Succeed Youth Bursary donation link over email and acquired additional donations, as a result.

The Luminus group worked as a team and focused on the “fun” in fundraising! Collectively they raised $1,033 which will assist post-secondary credit union members with their studies in 2019.  Kudos to all who made this happen.