2022 BCYL Conference – The Credit Unions of the Future

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The Credit Unions of the Future - Panel

Panel Discussion

This panel will explore what credit unions may look like in the next, 5, 10…20 years and how we can remain relevant and evolve in an ever-changing system. Our panelists will discuss topics such as: keeping up with technology and member expectations, mergers, and how we can continue to engage and “co-pete” with each other.


Alexa Creelman – Member Relations and ESG Manager – Central 1

Alexa Creelman is the manager of Member Relations and ESG (environmental, social, governance) at Central 1. She is also the chair of the national working group on DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) with CCUA, and active in their committees relating to climate action and community impact.

Alexa is a values-driven leader whose career started in international development working with a cooperative that has successfully embedded environmental and societal considerations in their culture, business decision-making, and strategy.  She now contributes her energy to credit unions who seek to do the same and more demonstrably live out their values.

Chris Catliff – President & CEO – BlueShore Financial

Chris’ hands-on style and action-oriented vision are the driving forces behind BlueShore’s growth and success. A veteran of the financial services industry, he has devoted his career to building better credit unions through technology and data analytics. Since joining BlueShore as CEO in 2000, he has led a successful rebranding, technological innovation and strong organic growth, including a fourteen-fold increase of Assets Under Administration.

Chris has broad experience in leading and developing financial institutions through an emphasis on engaged employees and premium client experience, delivered through his concept of Financial Spas®. Previously, Chris held executive positions at Vancity and Citizens Bank where his responsibilities included corporate affairs, credit, treasury, technology, branches and strategy. He has served on over 30 Boards including Central 1, Aviso Wealth Inc., the CUMIS Group, Canadian Northern Shield Insurance, Pacifica Mortgage Investment Corp. and the Filene Research Council. He holds a Master’s degree from UBC, the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors and Director qualifications from the Canadian Securities Institute.

Mohamed Ladak – COO – Bulkley Valley Credit Union

Mo is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Bulkley Valley Credit Union in beautiful Northern BC currently overseeing the branch network, call centre, mobile mortgage development, enterprise risk, training and operations.

Most of his career has been in the Cooperative Credit Union sector primarily at Vancity for 26 years and now with Bulkley Valley Credit Union for just over a year. During his time at Vancity, Mo held various roles from growing up through the branch network managing various branches in diverse communities, overseeing the payments line of business and call centre, overseeing future proofing for the organization in the digital space, and lastly, overseeing credit & operations for the Credit Union.

Along with a Masters in Management of Cooperatives and Credit Unions from St. Mary’s University in Halifax, I guess you could say Cooperatives and Credit Unions are in his DNA. After spending a short amount of time so far in the Bulkley Valley Community and falling in love with the people and local community, Mo could see the continued opportunity for Cooperative Values & Principles to flourish in every Community.

Bill Kiss – Co-CEO – G&F Financial Group

Bill Kiss has been with G&F Financial Group for 26 years—initially as the Chief Financial Officer and then taking on the role of Co-Chief Executive Officer in 2011. He is also Director of Gulf and Fraser Insurance Services. 
Bill is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) having worked for a local chartered accounting firm for 10 years prior to joining G&F. Throughout that period, Bill worked in increasingly senior roles on the G&F external audit team. 
Bill holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics/Statistics as an undergraduate degree and a Licentiate in Accounting post-graduate degree from the University of British Columbia. He is a Certified Credit Union Director (CCD) as a result of attending the Credit Union Executive Society’s governance program at the Rotman School of Management. 
Bill is active on several boards within the financial industry and enjoys connecting with credit union leaders across Canada throughout the year. He served three terms on the Board of Central 1 Credit Union, an organization representing member credit unions in BC and Ontario, ending in 2022. During his time with Central 1, he served a three year term in the capacity as Board Chair, two years as Board Vice-Chair, and various terms chairing the Risk Review and Investment and Lending, Audit & Finance, Technology and Conduct Review and Governance committees. He also participated as a member of all of the various committees. Through his involvement at Central 1, Bill had direct input into key initiatives that directly affect the experience of credit union employees and millions of credit union members. 
Bill is a member of the Board of Directors for The Co-operators Group Limited, a leading Canadian co-operative which provides multi-line insurance and financial services. The Co-operator’s membership includes co-operative organizations across the country, credit union centrals, and representative farm organizations. Bill has been active on the Co-operators’ Risk and Compensation Committee for four years and now serves on the Audit & Finance Committee. 
From 2013 – 2018, Bill served on the CUMIS Board of Directors—a provider of insurance products and services to the Canadian credit union system. He was a member of the Audit, Finance and Risk Committee throughout his tenure. 
Bill works closely with Co-CEO, Jeff Shewfelt, to oversee operations. They share joint responsibility for all CEO duties and contribute success to their team members and to trust and mutual respect. Bill and Jeff have worked together in various capacities for 30 years and as Co-CEOs since 2011. They demonstrate the ultimate co-operative: learning from each other, expecting the best from each other, and knowing that— collectively—they are better.  
“We are very different in personality and skillset—that is why and how it works. We respect each other. We learn from each other.” 
Bill’s main focus these days is on how best to position G&F to service its members.  
“We’ve been setting ourselves up for changes for the last several years—right-sizing our branches, preparing for changes in banking processes, banking technology and creating the Money Advisor role.” 
Bill offers this advice to other credit union leaders: 
“Thrive. Don’t just survive. Keep growing to maintain relevance. Ensure executives are open to collaboration. Keep in close contact with other credit unions.”