|Founded||September 3, 1908Ottawa, Ontario, Canada(as the Civil Service Savings and Loan Society) in|
|Rob Paterson, President & CEO|
|Products||Savings; chequing; consumer loans; mortgages; credit cards; online banking|
|AUM||C$10 billion (2023)|
Number of employees
Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited, commonly called Alterna Savings (French: Caisse Alterna), is a credit union based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In addition to its credit union branches in Ontario, it also operates across Canada through its direct banking subsidiary Alterna Bank.
Established as the Civil Service Savings and Loan Society, it was the first Canadian approach to cooperative banking outside Quebec. Alterna Bank, launched in 2000, was one of Canada's first financial institutions to operate primarily through digital access. The parent organization adopted the Alterna name on merging with Toronto's Metro Credit Union in 2005. It is the second-largest credit union in Ontario, with C$10 billion in assets under management, over 217,000 members, and 41 branches.
Alterna's major growth event was the 1 April 2005 merger between CS CO-OP and Metro Credit Union. The combined assets were $1.8 billion and the merger was described as the "first of its size to be approved in Ontario history". After merging with Metro, the parent organization adopted the Alterna name. Eight years later, Alterna began absorbing smaller credit unions with seven transactions between 2013, 2020, and 2022.
Civil Service Savings and Loan Society
The Civil Service Savings and Loan Society launched in 1908 with the assistance of Alphonse Desjardins. It was the first credit union in Canada outside Quebec. Federal civil servants were prompted by an article in their magazine The Civilian, when it reported on loan sharks charging civil servants up to 200% for payday loans. After the Government of Ontario passed a credit union law in 1928, the Ottawa-based institution was re-chartered as the Civil Service Co-operative Credit Society, which later operated as CS CO-OP.
Metro Credit Union
Metro Credit Union was incorporated 30 August 1949 as the University of Toronto Employees' Credit Union. It became the University and Colleges Credit Union in 1975, which later operated as Unicoll. Over the years it absorbed a variety of smaller credit unions, primarily ones that served universities, colleges or hospitals. It became a community bond credit union, open to all residents of Toronto, in 1994.
Gary H. Gillam, a leader of the credit union until his death in 1993, shaped Metro Credit Union's reputation as a pioneer in socially responsible investing. Alterna continues to operate a microcredit fund for disadvantaged Toronto entrepreneurs, and was one of the first financial institutions in Canada to perform regular social audits.
CS CO-OP and Metro were active participants in the negotiations of 12 credit unions across the country for a national co-operative bank in 1998. Though these negotiations were unsuccessful, they opened a door for CS CO-OP, under the leadership of Gary Seveny, to secure a bank charter for its subsidiary CS Loan Corporation, established as a Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation member in 1992. The new bank was launched as CS Alterna Bank in October 2000 to offer service across Canada.
- Ottawa Women's Credit Union (October 2013) - The Ottawa Women's Credit Union formed in 1980 to provide financial products, services and training based on the philosophy of women helping women to become financially autonomous. The credit union was founded by Lynne Markell, Aline Akeson and Dorothy O'Connell after they recognized that the best way to help low income women in the Ottawa area was with a member-owned financial co-operative managed by and for women. The members voted to merge with Alterna Savings to form its Centretown branch in October 2013.
- Peterborough Community Savings (1 March 2016)
- Nexus Community Savings (1 December 2016)
- Toronto Municipal Employees' Credit Union (1 December 2018) - it remains a separate division operating as Toronto Municipal Employees' Savings (TME Savings).
- City Savings & Credit Union Ltd. (1 May 2019) - Toronto-based City Savings & Credit Union Ltd. was previously called North York Municipal Employees Credit Union and had two branches and $43 million in assets at the time of the merger.
- Quinte First Credit Union (1 June 2020)
- Member Savings Credit Union Ltd (2021) - a merger with the $119m Member Services was announced in Oct 2020 and closed in January 2021 . 
- Pace Savings & Credit Union (July 2022) - Alterna absorbed the former PACE business in a purchase administered by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario. There is a history between Alterna and PACE as there was a failed deal in 2014 when a letter of intent regarding a merger between the two credit unions was announced in April, but the merger was never completed.
Alterna was one of the first financial institutions to make loans to businesses focusing on cannabis in Canada following its legalization, providing primary banking services for approximately two-thirds of the hundred licensed growers in 2018.
- Central 1 Credit Union
- The Exchange
- Cirrus Network
- Maestro (debit card)
- Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (deposit insurance)
- Co-op Network
- Alterna Savings (28 Aug 2022). "City Savings is now Alterna Savings and Credit Union Limited". Retrieved 28 Aug 2022.
- "CS CO-OP, Metro CU members approve merger". Investment Executive. 9 February 2005. Archived from the original on 30 November 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
- The Civil Service Co-operative Credit Society, Limited (11 February 2002). "Offering Statement" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
- "Alterna Savings: A century of cooperation" (PDF). Scoop: Your Newsletter (Winter): 5–8. 2008.
- Ontario Legislative Assembly (1950). Sessional Papers. p. 88.
- Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (30 June 1997). "CDIC Annual Report 1996/1997" (PDF). Retrieved 1 May 2019.
- "Ottawa Women's Credit Union and Alterna Savings to partner" (PDF). 29 October 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 December 2020. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
- "Peterborough Community Credit Union to join Alterna Savings as first to operate under federated model in Ontario" (PDF). 26 January 2019. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 November 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
- "Toronto Municipal Employees' Savings now a division of Alterna Savings" (PDF). 6 December 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 May 2019. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
- "Alterna Savings merges with City Savings & Credit Union". Investment Executive. 1 May 2019. Archived from the original on 22 November 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- "City Savings members vote unanimously to join Alterna Savings" (PDF). Alterna Savings. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 November 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- "Alterna Savings, Quinte First credit unions to merge, sign letter of intent". The Toronto Star. 4 December 2019. Archived from the original on 27 March 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
- "Quinte First Merger with Alterna Savings and Credit Union Q&A" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 November 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
- Mezzetta, Rudy (21 October 2020). "Alterna to merge Member Savings Credit Union". Investment Executive. Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
- "Member Savings Credit Union has merged with Alterna Savings". Archived from the original on 23 September 2023. Retrieved 23 September 2023.
- "Transaction between Alterna and PACE successfully completed". Financial Services Regulatory Authority. 6 July 2022. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
- "PACE Credit Union and Alterna to merge". Investment Executive. 4 April 2014. Archived from the original on 22 November 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
- Alexander, Doug (6 April 2018). "Alterna CEO embraced weed business when nobody else would". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
- Coopers, Pricewaterhouse (December 31, 2021). "Consolidated Financial Statements of Alterna Savings" (PDF). Alterna Savings. p. 11. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
- Ron Kenyon, To the Credit of the People, The Ontario Credit Union League Ltd., 1976.
- Branch listing: https://www.alterna.ca/ToolsAndCalculators/FindBranchATM/?branch=show
- Alterna's consolidated financial statements: https://www.alterna.ca/AboutUs/Governance/CorporateReports/