Connect First Credit Union Review

Connect First Credit Union is Canada’s eighth-largest credit union and the second largest in the province of Alberta. Other popular credit unions in Alberta are Servus Credit Union, Vision Credit Union, and Lakeland Credit Union.

This review of Connect First Credit Union covers its four divisions and the services and products they offer to members in the communities where they operate.

Who is Connect First Credit Union?

Connect First Credit Union is a merger of four credit unions that have served Albertans for over 75 years:

  • First Calgary Financial Credit Union
  • Chinook Credit Union
  • Mountain View Financial Credit union
  • Legacy Financial Credit Union

First Calgary Financial was founded in 1938. In 2014, they amalgamated with Chinook Financial to form Connect First Credit Union. They have 15 branches in the greater Calgary area.

Chinook Financial: Was founded in 1941 and currently has 11 branches across Southern Alberta.

Legacy Financial: Legacy Savings and Credit Union can trace its roots back to 1941. It became a part of Connect First Credit Union in 2017 and has 2 locations in Calgary.

Mountain View Financial: Became a part of Connect First in 2018. They serve members through 13 branches across Central Alberta.

Connect First Credit Union has over 120,000 members, 42 branches, and over $6 billion in assets under management. It was recognized as one of Canada’s best-managed companies for 20 consecutive years in 2019. 

Read: EQ Bank – Best Savings Rate in Canada?

Connect First Credit Union Review

First Calgary Financial

First Calgary offers personal and business banking accounts and you can download their mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

Chequing (Personal)

  • No Fees For Me Chequing: No monthly account fees, unlimited transactions, no minimum balance, and 3 free upgrades.
  • Harmony Chequing: $14/month, unlimited transactions, ChangeUp feature (spare change savings), free safe deposit box rental.
  • US Dollar Chequing: No monthly fee, free in-branch transfers, withdrawals, and cheque clearing with a $1,000 minimum balance, interest earned on balances.

Savings (Personal)

  • Elite Savings Account: No monthly fees, no minimum balance, high-interest.
  • Save It For Later Account: Link with a No Fees For Me chequing account, first 15 transactions free, and no minimum balance.
  • Harmony Account: Free when combined with a Harmony chequing account.
  • Future Account: For kids 0 to 11 years old. No monthly fees, free unlimited transfers, and in-branch withdrawals.

The telephone contact for First Calgary Financial is 1-866-923-4778.

Investing

Invest using term deposits and mutual funds inside an RRSP, TFSA, RESP, RRIF, and RDSP. You can also trade online through their partnership with Qtrade Investor or access professional wealth management through VirtualWealth, a robo-advisor.

Other services they provide include mortgages, loans, insurance, and credit cards.

Read: Best Robo-Advisors in Canada.

Chinook Financial 

Chinook Financial offers banking services to individuals and businesses. Their telephone contact is 1-844-685-6225.

Chequing (Personal)

  • Maximizer Account: $20 monthly fee, unlimited transactions, $5 discount on a safe deposit box, free rewards, drafts, cheques, and interest-earning.
  • Choice Chequing Account: $15 monthly fee, 40 free debit transactions, $12 in rewards, $5 discount on a safe deposit box, free cheques, and eStatements.
  • Lifestyle Account: $10 monthly fee.
  • Regular Personal Account: $2 monthly fee.
  • US Dollar Chequing: $1 per transaction.
  • Golden Account: For members who are 60+. $0 monthly fee, and free cheques.
  • Fat Cat Account: For members 0-12 years old. $0 monthly fee.
  • Student Choice Account: For members aged 19-25 years old; $0 monthly fee and free cheques.

Savings (Personal)

  • Elite Account: No monthly fee, unlimited online transactions, $5,000 minimum deposit, and 1 free in-branch transaction per month.
  • Plan 24 Account: No monthly fee, interest, pay as you go per transaction.
  • US Dollar Savings: No monthly fee.

Chinook Financial also offers mortgages, insurance, agricultural banking, investing, loans, and financial planning. 

Legacy Savings Financial

Legacy Financial offers a full suite of banking accounts. Their telephone contact is 1-844-753-7900.

Chequing Account

  • Standard Chequing: No monthly fees, pay as you go ($0.60/debit item, $0.45/direct payment, $0.50/in-person transfer, and $3 telephone transfer).
  • Regular Flat Rate Chequing: $11 per month, unlimited transactions, free cheques, and other service charges may apply.
  • Premium Flat Rate Chequing: $18 per month, unlimited transactions, free in-person transfers, free ATM transactions (8 free withdrawals, 2 free deposits, and 4 free transfers per month).

Savings

  • Elite Savings Account: High-interest account, no monthly fees, and no minimum balance requirement.
  • Plan 24 Account: 5 free counter withdrawals.
  • Red Flame Account: 5 free counter withdrawals.
  • US Dollar Savings

Chinook Financial also offers seniors, youth, and electronic banking accounts, investing, lending and insurance.

Other fees may apply to each account – check their website for an updated list of service fees.

Mountain View Financial

You can reach Mountain View at 1-844-648-6466.

Chequing Account

  • Optimizer Account: $0 to $12 monthly fee depending on the number of transactions you make. The monthly fee is waived with a $2,500 minimum monthly balance and it is pay-as-you-go for other services.
  • Elite: $22 monthly fee (waived with a $5,000 minimum monthly balance), unlimited Interac e-Transfer, interest-bearing, free cheques, 5 free non-credit union ATM transactions, and 5 free ATM transactions outside Canada.
  • Home Free Account: Available to members with a HELOC. No monthly fees, free unlimited transactions, and free in-branch bill payments.
  • Senior Account: For members aged 60+, no monthly account fee, unlimited basic transactions, and free in-branch bill payments.

Savings

  • Summit Savings: No monthly fees, 2 free in-branch debits (then $5 each), interest-earning.
  • Elite Savings: higher-interest rate (up to 1% on balances over $5,000), no monthly fee.
  • Personal U.S. Account: No monthly fee, free deposits, $1 per debit, interest-earning, and no ATM or POS access.

Mountain View Financial also offers kids, young adults, and community accounts; mortgages, loans, investing, insurance, business and agriculture banking products.

Read: 15 Free Apps To Save Money.

How To Open an Account

To become a member, apply online (First Calgary) or book an appointment for an in-person visit at a branch.

Some of the benefits of membership are:

  • Part-ownership: You own a piece of the credit union and share in the annual profits.
  • Customized and personalized accounts
  • Community support: A part of the profit is used in supporting the local community.

Members are required to purchase $1 in equity shares. They must also be at least 18 years old and a resident of Alberta.

Is Connect First Safe?

The funds you deposit in any of Connect First’s divisions are 100% guaranteed by the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Alberta and include any accrued interest.

What this means is that if the credit union becomes insolvent, you will get your deposits back.

Conclusion

This review of Connect First Credit Union is a part of a series on Credit Unions in Canada.

Related:

Connect First Credit Union Review
4.5

Summary

Connect First Credit Union was formed by the amalgamation of First Calgary, Chinook, Mountain View, and Legacy Financial credit unions. This Connect First Credit Union review covers what you need to know.

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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