Meridian sees big growth for wealth management

By Staff | August 18, 2016 | Last updated on August 18, 2016
2 min read
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Meridian Credit Union says its wealth management business is growing by more than 20% per year as it looks to expand its banking services outside Ontario.

Ontario’s largest credit union says it will launch online banking services for people outside its home province in mid-2018. The services will be under Meridian Bank, a private bank operating as a subsidiary of the credit union.

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The credit union’s growing wealth management services will also be available to customers outside Ontario a year or two after the bank’s launch, says Meridian chief executive Bill Maurin.

While member relationship balances are growing by about 12% per year, Meridian’s wealth management business has been double that, Maurin says.

“We’ve got some good people who really know what they’re doing, so things are going well,” he says. The wealth management side has been growing faster because it’s been underrepresented, he says, with a majority of its business being advisor-based portfolio oversight. “We work on both the MFDA and IIROC platforms, with some shifting focus toward IIROC,” he says.

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Meridian, created in 2005, now has 270,000 credit union members in Ontario after merging with the province’s Desjardins Credit Union in 2011. Meridian’s consolidated assets under management are $14 billion, it says, with 81 branches in Ontario. It will open another eight in Toronto and two in Ottawa this year.

“We’ll certainly be hiring more advisors,” Maurin says. “We’ve been having a very significant employee intake.”

Meridian says it aims to compete online outside Ontario with a “full-service alternative to the big banks,” which are downsizing amid competition from online banking and other fintechs. The credit union’s online bank will not initially have any branches, but it plans to open some doors in cities after about four years, Maurin says.

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He says he wants to compete with services that are in members’ best interests “as opposed to just being in the interest of booking a sale,” he says, adding that the online bank plans to make competitive offers in mortgages and high interest savings accounts.

Meridian Bank will aim its services at younger families and younger urban dwellers who are looking for financial services with the “heart and soul” of a credit union, Maurin says. Advisors for the online bank will be available via phone, online chat, and online video, he says. staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.