Connect First Credit Union Announces Payday Lending Alternative

May 13, 2016

Calgary, AB - Connect First Credit Union, through its two divisions First Calgary Financial and Chinook Financial, will launch a fair micro-lending solution in August 2016, designed to help prevent Albertans from falling into a place of financial vulnerability where they struggle to meet their daily basic needs. This alternative to payday lending is called the Cash Crunch Loan.

The launch is the result of more than a year of First Calgary Financial operating a pilot program in collaboration with community partner Momentum. The ongoing pilot program helps at-risk Calgarians regain financial stability, improve their credit ratings and build a positive and trusted relationship with a credit union through financial literacy training and referral by Momentum that leads to micro-loan qualification. The pilot program is the first affordable alternative to payday loans in Alberta.

“If passed, Bill 15: An Act to End Predatory Lending will bring substantive changes to the payday lending industry, including the country’s lowest borrowing rates. We are delighted with this legislation and are proud to collaborate with the Government of Alberta, Momentum and our credit union partners to introduce fair and responsible small-loan alternatives for Albertans. This work is a tangible example of our mission to “Make Money Make a Difference”, and an exceptional first of many steps we need to take collectively to help vulnerable citizens build toward long-term financial stability,” says Shelley Vandenberg, President, First Calgary Financial.

“At Connect First Credit Union, we’ve consistently offered our skills and resources to set our members up for success, training staff to recognize signs of financial difficulty. We encourage them to proactively approach these situations with added care, solutions and resources both within and outside of our credit union to get at-risk members on a path to personal financial wellness. The launch of our upcoming Cash Crunch Loan formalizes that process,” says Scot Hadden, President, Chinook Financial.

Watch a story of one of our First Calgary Financial members, referred through Momentum to the Cash Crunch Loan pilot program.

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

Connect First Credit Union

Cell: 403.473.3676



Megan Douglas

Manager, Brand & Stakeholder Engagement

Cell: 403.988.0903 | Email: