Bob Watson, CEO of PenFinancial Credit Union, presented the Rotary Club of St. Catharines South with an enlarged cheque for $15,000 for the Take it to Heart initiative.

The Rotary Club of St. Catharines South has partnered with the May Court Club of St. Catharines and PerformanceCars to raise $750,000 for the Cardiac Catheterization Lab of the new Niagara Health System.


Bio of Bob Watson, PenFinancial Credit Union:

Bob's career in the financial services industry began in 1971 and has included a major, chartered bank, two trust companies and, for the past twenty-seven years, the Canadian credit union system.  Bob was especially young when he became a branch manager at twenty-eight, and has held senior management positions since that time.  Today, he is the CEO of PenFinancial Credit Union, a local credit union with retail banking branches in St. Catharines and Welland.  PenFinancial also provides full-service brokerage and financial planning services through its Credential Securities investment division.  And through its advanced lending division, the credit union provides comprehensive lending services to commercial and agricultural enterprises. Since joining the credit union, Bob has overseen its significant growth and expansion in all areas.  He has also played a major, leadership role in completing numerous mergers with other credit unions located in the Niagara Region. Bob lives in Welland with his wife Mary.  They have four children and six grandchildren so, of course, they are always very busy.  Bob is a former Rotary and Lions Club member and he has served on numerous committees and associations on behalf of the credit union system and its primary regulator, the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario.  He has also proudly participated in countless fundraising ventures. Bob attributes his own success to his sincere commitment and determination to help others. 

Presentation by Bob Watson:

Hello and good morning everyone. I'd like to thank you for inviting me to your meeting today. 

Most of all, I would like to say just how extremely proud we are at PenFinancial to be partnering with the Rotary Club of St. Catharines South, Performance Cars and the May Court Club of St. Catharines, in their efforts to raise $750,000 for the Niagara Health System Foundation's "It's Our Time" Capital Campaign and the new Catheterization lab.  

We all know that Niagara has the fastest growing aging population in Canada and that many of our employees, our credit union's members, family and neighbours will be grateful that there will soon be highly professional treatment available to them regarding heart disease issues, in a setting far closer to home than ever before.    

That is why I am very pleased to announce that our Board recently approved a $15,000 donation in support of your efforts to help pay for the construction of a regional cardiac catheterization lab at the hospital complex planned for St. Catharines. 

Like many of the organizations and clubs that are supporting the new health care complex, PenFinancial Credit Union is strongly committed to the communities it serves.  And this is consistent with our co-operative values and the guiding principles that lead us.  We refer to our guiding principles as our Commitment and it includes the following; Passion in all that we do, Respect for one another, Knowledge and Dedication, and lastly . Success and Social Responsibility.  When we developed "Our Commitment", we did is through the cooperative involvement of all our employees, our Board of Directors and Committee members.  We wanted everyone to be fully engaged in that great project just as we engage them to actively participate in local community investment decisions, ensuring we meet the specific needs of families and businesses in the communities we serve across Niagara.  

Additionally, we created our Community Investment Program to help make our communities stronger, healthier and more vibrant. Through this program, we provide monetary and in-kind donations including free rental space and equipment for not-for-profits, and employee and board volunteer time to support local events and activities in our neighbourhoods.  

At PenFinancial Credit Union, we believe that being a socially committed organization helps to strengthen the communities where our members and employees live and work.  We are committed to their ongoing strength, development and vitality.

But being socially responsible isn't a philosophy that's unique to PenFinancial - or any other credit union for that matter.
Giving back to the community is a key principle in the success of all Canadian credit unions and co-operatives¬∑ Co-operatives share a common vision of working together to strengthen their communities. And we all understand the importance of contributing time, talent and funding initiatives that directly benefit communities across Canada. 

At PenFinancial Credit Union, our philosophy has always been to give something back to the community - it was, and is, simply "the right thing to do" for a number of reasons. 

But let me tell you the main reason. 

Every day, from the moment we wake up in the morning, all of us are making a difference in someone's life - whether it's helping a neighbour with their yard work, giving your child a hand with their studies or giving someone sound advice. 

We feel good about helping others - and people want to feel the same way about the companies they deal with. 

For instance, several recent studies indicate that there is a clear link between socially responsible business practices and an organization's ability to attract and retain high performing employees. 

In my experience at PenFinancial, people want to be proud of where they work. Employees place a high value on the "right" corporate culture, values, challenges and options when considering an employer. 

People clearly want to be involved with companies that are looking after the communities where they live and work, and support the causes and charities that they believe in. 

That's the reason why what we do at PenFinancial is more than just the everyday services we provide - more than just mortgages and loans and car payments. 

When it comes right down to it, we're making a difference in people's lives. 

And this is why PenFinancial is proud to invest in the Niagara Health System Foundation and the new catheterization lab. It exemplifies everything that PenFinancial Credit Union stands for - it is holistic, it is inclusive, and it helps build stronger, healthier, more vibrant communities that we can all be proud of. 

So congratulations to all of you here at the Rotary Club of St. Catharines South for all of your hard work and contributions to not just the Niagara Health System's Capital Campaign, but for all of the not-for-profit organizations that you support across Niagara. 

Thank you.