Canadian Underwriter

The Co-operators, Desjardins Group to invest in new Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund

October 16, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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Canadian co-operatives and mutuals have committed $25 million to establish the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund (CCIF), which will provide financing for new and expanding Canadian co-operatives in Canada.

The $25 million in committed investment to date is the threshold agreed by partners as the start-up capital required for a self-sustaining fund, noted a press release from Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, one of the organizations that “have agreed in principle” to invest in the CCIF.

Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada said in the release that the CCIF “is a response to a critical challenge facing co-operatives and mutuals to access capital without compromising their autonomy and their one member, one vote structure.” The fund is open to investment by accredited investors across Canada, and CCIF anticipates funding its first investment in early 2018.

The CCIF will be managed by Community Forward Assistance, an experienced fund manager with roots in community lending, including co-operatives.

In addition to Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, The Co-operators and Desjardins Group, the following organizations have agreed in principle to invest in the fund:

  • Affinity Credit Union;
  • L’Alliance des caisses populaires de l’Ontario;
  • Vancity;
  • Concentra Bank;
  • Arctic Co-operatives Ltd.;
  • Assiniboine Credit Union;
  • Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation;
  • Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada;
  • Connect First Credit Union;
  • Kindred Credit Union; and
  • Freedonia

“Co-operatives have a long tradition of working together, and the CCIF is a great example of the sector collaborating to develop a solution to a long-standing challenge,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators, in the release. “We are pleased to support the creation of this new source of financing, which will contribute to the strength and sustainability of Canadian co-ops.”

Guy Cormier, president and CEO of Desjardins Group, noted that co-operatives “make a significant contribution to the Canadian economy and society. Desjardins’ investment in the CCIF demonstrates our belief that co-operatives continue to have a significant role to play in the Canada’s economic future and that we must enable the movement with the appropriate financial tools to succeed.”

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