Cash Crunch Loan Now Offers the First Alternative to Payday Lending to Southern Albertans

August 22, 2016

Calgary, AB - When times are tough, a high interest payday loan shouldn’t be your only option. Connect First Credit Union, through its two divisions First Calgary Financial and Chinook Financial, is proud to be the first in Alberta to introduce a fair and responsible small-loan alternative, now available at all branches – the Cash Crunch Loan.

The Cash Crunch Loan is for people facing unexpected expenses or budgeting challenges where their expense and income timing is misaligned. It has an annual interest rate of 19 per cent with a payback period of six to 18 months.

“The first of its kind in the province, the Cash Crunch Loan will help prevent southern Albertans from falling into a situation of financial instability where they struggle to meet their basic daily needs. We’re taking positive steps forward to help Alberta's financially vulnerable citizens avoid high-interest lending cycles, while helping them to build positive and trusted relationships with our credit union. We want Albertans to understand all of the options available to them”, says Shelley Vandenberg, President, First Calgary Financial.

“Our ultimate goal is to help southern Albertans who need a short-term bridge in their finances. Every year, we see hundreds of our members make funds transfers to payday lenders, often putting these individuals in dire financial situations. We’re offering our skills and resources to help these members on their journey to personal financial wellness,” says Scot Hadden, President, Chinook Financial.

The Cash Crunch Loan is the result of more than a year of operating a pilot referral program, with our partners at Momentum, that helped at-risk Calgarians escape high-interest lending cycles and make tangible improvements to their credit ratings, resulting in first-time mortgage qualification with Connect First Credit Union. This is our mission to “Make Money Make a Difference” in practice.

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Connect First Credit Union offers its members a full range of financial products and services and the branch network of a large financial institution, while retaining its trusted local brands and continuing its community-focused approach to banking. Connect First Credit Union is Canada’s tenth largest credit union, with over $5 billion in assets under administration. It serves 100,000 members through 27 branches in 13 communities across southern Alberta, under the Chinook Financial and First Calgary Financial brands. For more information visit


Media Contacts:

Alison Archambault

Director, Brand & Stakeholder Engagement

Cell: 403.473-3676 | Email:


Megan Douglas

Manager, Brand & Stakeholder Engagement

Cell: 403.988.0903 | Email: