Monday, November 22, 2010

Upcoming Events - December

Event flyer
Ukrainian Credit Union Limited is proud to sponsor the Ukrainian Art Song Project in its world premiere and CD launch of Mykola Lysenko: The Art Songs. To learn about The Ukrainian Art Song Project, please visit their website

Also connected to the Lysenko premiere is an event for children at the ROM. Titled "Rizdvo: A Christmas Celebration", this event gives children a full day of Ukrainian heritage celebration. Activities include live music, dance performances, hands-on activities, scavenger hunt and more. See the attached flyer for more details or visit the ROM website

To read about other UCU support for and involvement in the arts, click here: UCU and the Arts

Friday, November 19, 2010

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas... here in Windsor!

This Thursday, UCU Windsor branch thought they would kick off the holiday season with their Christmas dinner at Perbacco Italian Restaurant, on Ottawa Street.  Alison Conroy, Operations Manager happened to be in the neighborhood to present Mira Oryshchyn with a gift for her 10 years of exceptional service with Ukrainian Credit Union Limited.

Congratulations Mira!
(Alison Conroy & Mira Oryshchyn) 


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holodomor Memorial Food Drive

Please donate non-perishable items such as pasta, rice, peanut butter, jam and canned goods like beans, tuna and soup at Ukrainian Credit Union Branches throughout November.

About the Holodomor - the famine-genocide of Ukraine, 1932-1933
In the spring of 1933, the rural population of Ukraine, its peasants, were dying at a rate of 25,000 a day, half of them children. The land that was known worldwide as the breadbasket of Europe was being ravaged by a man-made famine of unprecedented scale. It was engineered by Stalin and his hangmen, to teach Ukraine’s independent farmers  “a lesson they would not forget” for resisting collectivization, which meant giving up their land and livestock to the state. (Ukraine was then under Soviet domination).  Moreover, it was meant to deal “a crushing blow” to any national aspirations of the Ukrainian people, 80 percent of whom were peasant farmers.

In less than 18 months, this famine genocide took millions of lives of innocent men, women and children in Ukraine and in the mostly ethnically Ukrainian areas of the northern Caucasus.

Today, almost 70 jurisdictions have recognized the Holodomor as an act of genocide, including the Parliament of Canada and the Provincial Parliament of Ontario. Notwithstanding, Ukraine’s new President, Viktor Yanukovich, in order to mollify the reactionary Russian regime’s feelings, has audaciously adopted a revisionist position that the famine was not a genocide.  In so doing he besmirches the memory of the famine victims and breaches the laws of Ukraine. Members are invited to send the UCC postcard to President Yanukovich, provided in-branch, appealing to him to do the right thing and not be a genocide-denier.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Things you didn't know about UCU employees...

Spot light on:

Inessa Kovalenko

Inessa attending at
Training Day 2010
Did you know that Inessa Kovalenko, Admin Support at HQ, used to work at the Rivne Atomic Energy Station in Kuznetsovsk in Rivne oblast? Don’t worry, she’s not radioactive! She worked at the head office there as an administrative staffer. One of the big projects she worked on was converting hundreds of text file documents containing job descriptions of managerial and other key staff from an old program called Norton Commander (remember when everyone and his brother was in the word-processing business) to Word documents.

Rivne AES. You almost want to vacation there,
it looks so idyllic
She was also involved in staff training. She created training packages and training presentations for staff (something she still does occasionally for UCU!). One of the projects she remembers fondly was helping to put together a conference for 5 other power stations that were interested in learning about the training initiatives for reactor and turbine engineers that Rivne AES was undertaking.

Inessa has been working with UCU for 6 years now. It all started when she dropped off a resume at our North York branch. Sadly, we didn’t have a spot for her then. However, Inessa persisted (see it pays to be persistent). When, shortly afterwards, she needed to find a co-op placement for a finance course she was taking, she applied again. This time she got the job. What was originally a 3 month co-op placement has turned into 6 years at UCU.

Now for those who were kind enough to read to the end of this article, here is a bonus fact about Inessa, she also makes some wonderful hand-made clothing – “Beautiful” in the words of Marie Stamler, Senior Executive Assistant at UCU. In Ukraine she used to make them for her friends, but here we keep her so busy that she only has time to make clothing for herself (as I was writing this article, Inessa came by to show off a wonderful leather and suede coat that she made for herself – look out Stella McCartney!)

Don't forget to click on the Spot Light On... tab just under the blog banner if you want to read about other UCU employees.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Training Day 2010!

On November 11, 2010, the entire staff of UCU met for Training Day. This year was special in that it was the first time that our new employees from the So-Use division got to meet everybody. Taras Pidzamecky kicked off the event with a nice ice breaker where everyone had to pair up with someone they didn't know and learn a few things about them. Then we all had to relate this info to the whole assembly.
More or less everyone.
Zenon Chwaluk cracks 'em up!
Natalia Chervonyi at the Credit
break-out session

Staff listening to a presentation on the Acumen banking system

Oleksiy Sleypukhov

Roman Litwinchuk

Olena Pyankova, Olya Marek, Kumud Rudra

Liliya Boyko and Maria Binczarowski

Margaryta Kulyk

Fred Petruk & Mike Kryworuchko

Maria Babiak, Natalia Kolomyitchouk

This is just a taste of the photos from the day. The rest will be posted to our Facebook page over the weekend. Facebook link - you probably will have to log into Facebook for this link to work. If it doesn't, then just search for "Ukrainian Credit Union Limited" after you have logged into Facebook.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

UCU's “ParticipACTION” at UCC's XXIII Triennial Congress.

I would like to share with you a communiqué from the XXIII Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians that was recently held in Edmonton.  The delegates from Ukrainian Credit Union Limited; namely; Eugene Roman, Taras Pidzamecky, Walter Kish, Fred Petruk, Marie Stamler and Kristin Glover attended the four day event in various capacities.

Eugene Roman provided valuable insights and launched a mini-campaign that netted $150,000 for the “President’s Club” of UCC.  He was also elected as the Ukrainian National Federation (UNF) representative to the Board of the Ukrainian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko.

G. Daniel Caron, Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine,
 Paul Grod, National President of Ukrainian Canadian Congress,
Walter Kish, (UCU Director) recipient of the Shevchenko Medal,
Daria Luciw, Second Vice President
of  Ukrainian Canadian Congress
Walter Kish received the Ukrainian Canadian Congress award “The Shevchenko Medal” in recognition of his dedicated community activism, and his contributions as a journalist.  The Shevchenko Medal recognized individuals for outstanding national contribution towards the development of the Ukrainian Canadian community.  Walter has been a leader in the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada, the Canada Ukraine Foundation and the New Pathway newspaper.  He was the Ukrainian National Federation representative to the Canada Ukraine Foundation.

Taras Pidzamecky represented the Ukrainian National Federation in the official photo at the Ukrainian Pioneer Memorial outside the Alberta Legislature, was one of four delegates invited as a guest of the Speaker of the Alberta Legislature and was introduced in the Legislature.  He spearheaded the drafting of  a resolution on engaging the rest of the 1.2 million Ukrainian Canadians who are not involved in community life. Taras also attended numerous meetings with one of them being with Federal Sports Minister the Honourable Gary Lunn and Senator Raynell Andrechuk.
Kristin Glover, of UCU, with members of the
National Youth Advisory Committee.

There were various interesting workshops to name a few such as:  My Baba Was Ukrainian…Isn’t that Enough?  My Holuptsi Taste Better than your Cabbage Rolls! Can You Hear Us?   Government Relations , Holodomor Education: Triumphs & Challenges, Odnoholosno – Tell Me What You Think?  and the Young & Able – Youth Discussion Forum with the Moderator being: Kristin Glover.

The delegates also attended the Council of Ukrainian Credit Union’s Annual Meeting where Jerry Pryshlak was elected to the Supervisory Committee and Marie Stamler to the Verification Committee for the meeting.  The three other members of the CUCUC Board are George Wodoslawsky, Secretary, Fred Petruk, member of Supervisory Committee and Eugene Yakovitch, Board member.

Ukrainian Credit Union was the proud silver sponsor of the congress. Our name and logo along with the Congress emblem was  imprinted on the carry cases that were handed out to over 300 delegates.

For further information please  check out the website for events, news and photos at:

Marie Stamler

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ukrainian Credit Unions hard at Work!

The Council of Ukrainian Credit Unions in Canada (CUCUC) held its annual meeting in Edmonton, Alberta, November 4th, 2010. CUCUC represents seven Ukrainian credit unions across Canada.


Olya Sheweli, President of CUCUC presenting Bohdan Kozy
and Iryna Drahomyretska awards for their outstanding
work with the credit union movement in Ukraine. 
Jerry Pryshlak will also be joining our other UCU representatives that serve the CUCUC. He has been newly elected to their Supervisory committee

All together now!

All of UCU's branch managers and corporate managers are meeting in Toronto right now to plan out all the great things that we will be doing in the coming year. This is the first time that the management of our new So-Use branches are attending this annual session.

Around the main table. Looking into the camera at center is Angela Andlar (Sudbury). Others in the picture (from left): Marc Sirard, General Manager So-Use Division, Taras Pidzamecky, CEO, Lana Maksimishin, (Bloor), Maria Ciesielski (Bloor), Lida Hawryliuk (Oshawa), Roman Mlynko (Wealth Management Group), Tatiana Koroliova (North York), Luba Kapeluch (St. Demetrius) 

Mike Kryworuchko (Windsor)
Natalia Chevonyi (London) and Irena Dlugosz (Etobicoke)

Vlad Karman (Mississauga)

Luba Kapeluch (St. Demetrius) and
Oksana Harapyuk (Thunder Bay)

Marc Sirard (GM So-Use Division) and
Lydia Cymbaluk (Bloor)

Maria Ciesielski (Bloor) and
Lana Maksimishin (Bloor)
Lida Hawryluk (Oshawa)

Yuriy Nesvit (St. Catharines)

Tatitana Koroliova (North York)

Roman Mlynko (Wealth Management Group)

Best car in Sudbury?

One of our newest branch managers, Angela Andlar in Sudbury, lets her town know there is a new "banker" in town! How's that for team spirit?

A close up of the rear window

Friday, November 5, 2010

Historical Vignettes: St. Catharines Branch

The St. Catharines Branch of Ukrainian Credit Union Limited was founded in 1946 under the name of Ukrainian (St. Catharines) Credit Union. There were 18 founding members present at the first meeting. The St. Catharines area as well as the Niagara Region has a large and vibrant Ukrainian community. Institutions in the city include the Ukrainian National Federation, Ukrainian Black Sea Hall, St. John's and Sts. Cyril and Methodious Ukrainian Catholic Churches and St. George's Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Plast and SUM youth groups Ukrainian language schools and more. There are numerous other Ukrainian churches, businesses and institutions in the surrounding area stretching from Niagara Falls all the way over to Hamilton.

The staff at St. Catharines Branch today.
Fun Fact:
Angelo Mosca, a past wrestling and CFL football champion used to be member at Ukrainian (St. Catharines).
Angelo Mosca in his football years

According to the official minutes, the first General Meeting of Ukrainian (St. Catharines) Credit Union was held at 177 Niagara St at the "Ukrainian Home of Education". Mr. M. M. Borowsky presided over the meeting and Mrs. Lena Cybulak was the secretary.

In those early days, the credit union did not have its own vaults. Deposits were collected from members and then deposited into a chartered bank "not later than 48 hours after collection" according to the minutes. For children's accounts, the membership share stood at 25 cents!!!

The first branch was located at 181 Niagara St. in a small office in the UNF (Ukrainian National Federation) Hall. Later a property formerly occupied by an old jail house (pictured below) at 118 Niagara St. was purchased. Perhaps fortunately for the staff at the time, the jail was torn down before they moved in. This jail is noted for having conducted Canada's last hanging.
Former jail house

The branch as it looks today.

You have to admit, ghosts or no ghosts it would have been pretty cool to have the branch located in the old jailhouse.

Joining the UCU family
Ukrainian (St. Catharines) Credit Union merged with Ukrainian Credit Union Limited on December 1, 2008 and the members and staf have been a very important part of the UCU family since then.
Staff help a member decide between 2.25% for 6 months
or 2.50% for 20 months

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things you didn't know about UCU employees...

Spot light on:

Olya Melnyk

Olya wearing one of her
favourite gerdany
Did you know that Olya Melnyk is a gerdany-making artist? This began as a hobby for Olya about ten years ago during a visit to the Caravan Pavilion (remember those?) at St. Vladimir Insitute on Spadina in Toronto. As she was touring the pavilion, a deep desire to learn this art form grasped at her very soul. Olya took a class with the renowned bead master Maria Rypan and she was hooked. She learned the basic technique and made it her own, taking inspiration for her designs from nature and fashion.
With a needle and thread she weaves Czech glass beads into jewelry pieces that accessorize any wardrobe. She displays and sells her beadwork at various bazaars and hopes to one day attend the One Of A Kind Show (let's hope she does, that show is awesome!).
A small selection of Olya's beautiful work.
Olya can be found at her day job at the UCU call center as a Telephone Service Officer helping members out with transactions and answering questions about UCU services

To read about other employees that have been featured in a Spot Light please visit tis page: Spot Light On...

UCU CEO visits Ukraine as part of Stephen Harper's team

Last week our CEO, Taras Pidzamecky visited Ukraine as a part of Primer Minister Stephen Harper's team. Below is an image from the journey, more are available on the PM's site.
Taras Pidzamecky at the wreath laying ceremony at the Holodomor Memorial
in Kyiv (standing just behind the pedestal on the right)

During the visit the Prime Minister announced that Canada and Ukraine have signed a new agreement that will give young people more opportunity to travel and work in each other’s countries. The Memorandum of Understanding, which is expected to come into effect next year, will simplify and facilitate the process for qualified Canadian and Ukrainian citizens, aged 18 to 35, to travel and work in the other country for up to one year.  Participants will gain a better understanding of the other country’s languages, culture and society and benefit from professional and personal development.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

UCU Welcomes So-Use Staff and Members!

November 1st - Ukrainian Credit Union Limited and So-Use Credit Union began working together to build a stronger credit union for the community. So-Use branches have dived right into the Super Fall Campaign and learning about all of our products and services. It has been a pleasure working with the staff at UCU So-Use Bloor Branch. The staff of So-Use are enthusiastic about the conversion process. As we begin this journey together our commitment to our members is to make the process of blending the credit unions as seamless as possible.

Take Your Kids To Work Day!

Olga Marek and son Daniel Storozhuk
Students go into workplaces to get a glimpse of what their parents actually do, when parents say they are “working.”
They come in just starting their high school careers, care free, with their whole life ahead of them, the biggest worry of the day being… when’s lunch?
With over 3 years of high school ahead, they will be repeatedly asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  Believe me - you’re stuck with this question for awhile…
a) If you know what your goals are just put it on your facebook, so everyone can give up asking.
b) Still trying to figure it out: Get creative! – Deep Sea Fishermen, one day and reality T.V. Star the next.
Roman Litwinchuk and  son Zac Litwinchuk

The students Daniel Storozhuk and Zac Litwinchuk made a go of their day at Ukrainian Credit Union Limited, but also think they both agree that: High school is best career choice for a niner! 

  ….if only to be Youth Unlimited again.