The Ontario Co-operative Association

The Ontario Co-operative Association

October 11, 2013 10:39 ET

Financial Literacy is Part of Celebrated Co-Op Education at Libro

GUELPH, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 11, 2013) - Education is a key component of the growth of Libro Financial Group, earning the southwestern Ontario credit union the first Co-operative Spirit Award specifically recognizing education within co-operative organizations.

Libro Financial Group will receive its honour at the Ontario Co-operative Association (On Co-op) Co-op Week congress at the Milton, Ont. Teatro Conference & Event Centre on Oct. 16. The provincial co-op association launched its new awards categories to highlight its co-op sector priorities: education, co-operative development, advocacy and government relations, and engagement in co-operatives.

The credit union invented Libro Money School for financial literacy. From "Money and Love" to "Mortgage Free", coaches Tanya and Scott and others provide "financial guidance for owning your life" in short, entertaining videos. The credit union also uses YouTube to keep members informed of changes and events, including a proposed merger with likeminded United Communities Credit Union Limited. Additionally, the credit union holds seminars for first time home owners, students wishing to graduate debt free and others needing money tips.

"We are committed to providing straightforward, easy-to-understand advice across all delivery channels," says Libro Financial Group Vice President Tania Goodine who heads brand development. "We want to help our owners feel confident so they can take control of their financial well-being and get on with more important things in life."

Libro Financial Group also provides education to more than 100 volunteers representing 16 branches, assisting them to remain effective local advocates for the credit union's 59,000 members and serve on committees such as the credit union's Community Investment Advisory Panel.

Five per cent of the credit union's profit goes to its community investment initiatives including Community Builder Grant and Scholarship Programs that support youth development. The credit union also sends 50 to 60 teenagers to the Ontario Co- operative Young Leaders program each summer.

On Co-op Education Manager Kerr Smith says one in three youth in the Ontario leadership program are sponsored by Libro which also makes its staff available to help deliver the curriculum. He adds, "Libro represents the epitome of a credit union investing in its next generation of leaders."

Finally, Libro educates its employees to develop a better understanding of their member- owner needs by having more meaningful conversations with them. "It's more than just advice; a coach is an expert who becomes accountable for helping improve financial well-being," notes Goodine.

Libro Financial Group will be recognized alongside organizer Hannah Renglich of the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network, government lobbyist Harvey Cooper of the Ontario Region of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, and the Ottawa Co-op Cluster, a joint venture of co-ops and credit unions.

The "On Co-op Conference and Celebration: Sharing our Co-op Stories" is an evolution of an annual provincial meeting that started in 1999 in Toronto. This year's day-long program includes discussing a common brand for co-operative enterprises, effective advocacy and laws affecting co-ops, and youth engagement. The provincial co-op awards will be presented at noon.

WHAT IS ON CO-OP?

The Ontario Co-operative Association believes that co-operatives build a better world. We are the trade association that develops, engages, educates and advocates for Ontario's 1,300 co-operative businesses. On Co-op is an information and resources network with a mission to lead, cultivate and connect co-operatives.

WHAT WE DO FOR - AND WITH - OUR MEMBERS

The Ontario Co-operative Association provides its member-owners with programs, resources and networks that support their organizations and facilitate growth and opportunity. From the strong foundation provided by our membership, On Co-op builds co-op awareness and vitality, and unites the co-operative movement in Ontario.

WHAT IS A CO-OP?

Co-operatives are community-focussed businesses that balance people, planet and profit. Co-ops are democratic and value-based, formed to seize local opportunities and meet the needs of their member-owners. As a trusted place to do business, co-operatives are chosen by more than one in seven people worldwide. Twice as many co-ops remain in operation after ten years as other types of business enterprise.

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