FirstOntario Credit union goes above and beyond

nshailes    February 13, 2018

FirstOntario Credit Union (FCU) is a classic Canadian success story. FCU first began in 1939, they went through a number of name changes from Stelco Credit Union to Avestel and merged with Family Savings (formerly Auto Workers’ Credit Union) to eventually becoming FirstOntario Credit Union.

FCU provide all of the services, safety and security of a major financial institution but with one big difference: “FirstOntario operate on a cooperative model so our Members (customers) are always first, and we see you as a person not a credit score”. They provide these services through 32 locations in 14 communities across Ontario, including Hamilton, Halton, Niagara, Norfolk, and Oxford.

They have a solid following of loyal customers and employees. Recognizing that over 115,000 Ontarian’s choose FCU for their financial needs. They have become largely successful using their community first business approach to create an incredibly authentic connection between the company and their customers.

Back in 2010, FCU were Leaders in their field introducing for the first time in Canada, the Personal Assisted Teller (PAT) that connects tellers with customers via video while they do their banking. PAT uses live video streaming technology to connect an on-screen teller with customers who can do much of their daily personal banking.

Kelly McGiffin, President and CEO of FirstOntario Credit Union, was quoted as saying “Credit unions are known for putting Members first and FCU is continuing to find new and innovative ways to deliver exceptional service, as our new Personal Assisted Teller demonstrates. New technology such as PAT is progressive for the younger generations, but keeping the human touch is what the older generations love. So this is a win-win for all.”

PAT was designed to create another way for Members to access branch services through  extended service hours. PAT was the only technology at the time that enabled a teller to provide personal service to customers virtually. It has proven to be an important service channel and has enhanced the Member experience.

I asked FCU’s Vice President, Steve Mullaley, how FirstOntario are using social media channels to engage customers and connect with your many members? He was very cooperative and extremely descriptive in his response, giving us amazing insight into FCU’s Programs and Social media platforms, and the direction this is taking the Credit Union. (refer to audio file)

Through Programs like M is for Money and their Student Nutrition Program FCU is able to connect with the community on a more personal level. Being involved in the community adds another aspect to FCU’s commitment to understanding their customers needs. FirstOntario also supports the strength of local businesses and entrepreneurs through their 1Awards, an annual competition that offers $150,000 in cash and in-kind expertise and services, designed to help small businesses grow.

FCU use their different social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter (@firstontariocu) as important means to deepening relationships by sharing information and engaging with their staff, members and communities.  As a cooperative financial institution dedicated to providing exceptional service, and working toward a mutual benefit for all, the emphasis on the value of personal relationships and community support is part of the credit union’s DNA.

Lessons for Others

FirstOntario are focused on building their social media strategy.  They have recognized the impact social media has on their brand and their ability to reach out and connect with their Members and communities.

Organization: FirstOntario Credit Union
Industry: Financial Services
Name of Organization Contact: Steve Mullaley, Vice President,

Authored by: Nick Shailes

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


“Student Nutrition Program”

“M is for Money”


FCU Twitter

FCU Facebook