Monday, February 28, 2011

The "Spring is almost here" mini contest

So one thing we plan to do on this blog from time to time is hold little contests and give away some little prizes. This first contest is really just a little bit of a test to see what works and what doesn't in terms of "blog-based" contests.

Anyway, spring is almost here, you've probably already made your RRSP deposit (and if not click here and call the number at this link: Call Centre and Branches), and the blog is about to celebrate its 7th month in operation so what better time for a contest?

So this contest is very simple.

Two tickets to Yuk Yuk's in Mississauga, Ontario (tickets are for March 3 - you can change the date if you wish by calling the reservation line)

1. Send an email with the subject line "Spring is almost here" to:
2. Your entry must include an answer to the following skill testing question:

What is your favourite feature (or post) of this blog?

3. Only entries containing an answer to this question will be considered valid
4. Contest is open to everyone including UCU employees
5. Respond by end of day today (February 28, 2011)
6. A winner will be randomly picked from among the entries.
7. Tickets will be available for pick up at your local UCU branch on Wednesday March 2.
8. If you live too far away to attend the showing, you can still enter just for kicks.
9. One entry per contestant plese.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Thunder Bay - It’s cold, friendly, beautiful & HAS A UCU BRANCH!

Thunder Bay was formed as a result of the amalgamation of two cities - Port Arthur & Fort William. It is the home to approximately 122,907 residents. In the 17th century, this area was known as a fur trading outpost. Currently, their economy largely relies on forestry, manufacturing and the is developing in medical and educational research. Geographically in the center of Canada, on Lake Superior, this city provides a mixture of art, culture, history and close proximity to wilderness.
A friend living in Thunder Bay is the reason for my visit. The opportunity to visit our UCU branch, chat with the amazing Thunder Bay UCU team and get to know about the community here was definitely an added bonus!

The UCU branch is located in the Port Arthur Prosvita. What's a “Prosvita”? - More or less, a society created for the preservance and developing of Ukrainian culture and education among its population and it just happened to be pyrohy Friday!

This morning was a revolving door. All of our members who came in, had a story to tell or advice to share. One of our Fat Cat members (6 years old) and his baba were in today to deposit his birthday riches. He was convinced he was saving for a va-cation, which his baba quickly corrected to ed-u-cation!

I look forward to spend the weekend, in learning more about the community, nature, history and life in Thunder Bay!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

UCU financial advice column debuts its third writer

Vlad Karman
Branch Manager, Bloor (Armadale)
In this fourth week that the UCU financial column appears in Meest newspaper, Vlad Karman talks about taking advantage of spousal RRSPs. By the way, for those of you that have not yet heard the news, Vlad has recently moved into his new role of heading up our Bloor Street branch (at Armadale).

If you have any questions about what Vlad is talking about in the article, drop by to see him some time. Or call him at 416-762-6961 x238 or email him at It's not too late yet to make a contribution to your RRSP plan, so Vlad and his branch staff can help you out in this regard as well.

Keep watching for new articles in Meest. We still have a few new authors to introduce to you before we cycle back to our anchor contributor Roman Mlynko, Wealth Management Consultant (that's him in the add over there on the right hand column of this blog).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

McMaster Ukrainian Students Association serves up quite the tournament. ..

MUSA held quite the tournament attracting various schools Ukrainian students clubs and Ukrainian organizations to participate. Ukrainian Credit Union Limited was a proud Gold sponsor of this event.

Friday, February 18, 2011

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

Spot light on:

Mike Kryworuchko

Mike at a recent UCU training day.

Mike Kryworuchko is the Windsor Branch Manager of Ukrainian Credit Union Limited. Mike received a Business and Economics degree at the University of Western Ontario before embarking on his multi- career journey prior to finally finding his calling at UCU!
Although a Sudbury native, Mike started his first career in Niagara Falls in Hotel & Restaurant Management at the Starlight Motel, a family business. When offered an opportunity to work for a new hotel that was opening in Windsor, his decision was quick as this was the hometown of his bride.
Shifting his interest, Mike turned to Real Estate, where he spent 15 years of his career. This explains why Mike can double as a tour guide, showing all the historical neighbourhoods and sights hidden away, when visiting Windsor.

The Starlight Motel in Niagara Falls.

Mike should have been tipped–off sooner to come work for a credit union, since everywhere he ventured a local Ukrainian Credit Union was just around the corner, Sudbury, London, St. Catharines, & Windsor!
His career with UCU began with becoming a member of the Windsor Advisory Committee. Soon after, he responded to an advertisement in the Windsor Star, looking for a Ukrainian speaking branch manager. As of this coming June it will be the 12th anniversary that Mike has proudly managed the Windsor branch.
Three to four times a week Mike can be found at a local gym keeping up with the high school basketball teams, as he has enjoyed the last 11 years as a referee. What’s not to enjoy? You get the best seat in the house, you get paid to exercise, and when you blow that whistle everyone gives you their attention!

In off season Mike belongs to a golf league & is the co-chair of the very first Sts. Vladimir and Olga Ukrainian Catholic Church charity golf tournament that will be taking place this coming July 16th.
Mike has always felt a strong connection to the Ukrainian Community and fond memories growing up in Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) and Ukrainian dancing in Niagara Falls. He definitely credits his early years of singing in the CYM choir in St. Catharines for his outstanding karaoke talent which the song of choice always is “Dream” by the Everly Brothers.

Check out the karaoke song that Mike is famous for among his friends:

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

UCU financial column adds new writer

Tetyana Basmat
As you may have already heard or seen, Meest Weekly a Ukrainian language newspaper serving the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada and other countries of the world, has launched a new article series on finances. The series features leading wealth management and branch staff working for Ukrainian Credit Union Limited.

This week's article introduces the second member of this writing team, Tetyana Basmat, CFP, Financial Services Associate at Ukrainian Credit Union. Her article, titled "Що краще: RRSP чи RESP? За  і  проти" (What's better RRSP or RESP? Arguments for and against) is a must-read for people with children who are not sure which investment vehicle makes more sense to focus on.

If you have further questions about the article, you can reach Tetyana at 416-762-6961 x248 or email her at

Art in the Branches - Петро Кияниця at Bloor

If you frequent our Bloor Street Branch at Armadale, you may have noticed that the lobby doubles as an art gallery of sorts. Every few months or so, we feature works by a different local artist on the walls. Right now, the featured artist is Petro Kiyanitsa. His oils on canvas feature mostly pastoral scenes as well as various well-known Ukrainian churches.

The price of the pieces on display at our branch ranges in cost from $100 for the smallest canvases to $1,200 for the piece shown above. If you are interested in seeing or buying the art, please drop in to our branch at 2397 Bloor St. West.

Petro Kiyanitsa, formerly from Ukraine, has been a member of UCU since 2003. He lives in Toronto where he provides private art lessons for aspiring artists of all ages. He also maintains a studio in the Czech Republic, where he lived before moving to Canada.
Other artisits who have displayed their work at our Bloor Branch in recent years include Roman Zuzuk and Vera Yurchuk. If you want to one day display your own art, please contact Vera Homonko at the branch, 416-762-6961 x221. But please keep in mind that there is a lot of interest in this so you may have to add your name to a waiting list for a spot.

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

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

Spot light on:

Yuriy Diakunchak

Yuriy in a recent publicity shot
Yuriy Diakunchak is the Director of Marketing at Ukrainian Credit Union Limited. Though he’s been in that role only since late summer 2010, he has a long history of involvement in the marketing function at UCU. For about 5 years in the mid-2000s Yuriy ran a company called Creative Quotient Inc. which counted Ukrainian Credit Union Limited among its list of clients.

Just to be a bit different, Yuriy likes to style himself as a Québécois-Ukrainien having been born in Montréal and spending his formative years on the South Shore. He also spent enough time living in Kyiv in the early 1990s (and working as a journalist of sorts) to consider himself at the very least an honorary Kyivite – “Yak tebe ne liubyty Kyyeve miy” – banged out regularly by the bell tower on the Maydan has never quite erased itself from his internal soundtrack.

At the start of his working life, Yuriy focused on the editing and writing crafts. He was partly responsible for the creation of the North American version of Zdorov! The Magazine of Ukrainian Things and was an editor of the sadly now-defunct The Artery which was the voice of the Parkdale Village arts community. He has also worked extensively in the software industry for such Canadian success stories as Hummingbird and Platform Computing.

Setting off onto an arduous three day trek into
the wilds of south-western Algonquin.*

In recent times, Yuriy has rediscovered his passion for the outdoors. As a former Plastun (once a Plastun always a Plastun?) he used to do a lot of camping and hiking and such. Appropriately, he’s a lapsed member of the Burlaky Scouting fraternity, which features as its emblem a torn hiking boot. After a long hiatus from such activities he is easing himself back into the joys of slogging up and down hilly terrain in the Algonquin and getting dunked into the rushing waters of Ontario rivers.
He has set himself the goal of eventually walking every step of the Appalachian Trail, but so far has only managed a small part of it in New York. He intends to do the same on the Bruce Trail in Ontario, on which he has a bit more of a head start.

Yuriy channels a curmudgeonly coureur de bois in sub-zero temperatures this past
Thanksgiving morning on the shores of the Madawaska. The clothes hanging in the back
are drying from the previous day’s capsizing on one of the rapids.
“Get your hands off the GUNWALES!!!!” is still ringing in his head.*
Since Yuriy likes to maintain a bit of a mysterious air, he wants to leave you with this cryptic thought: “Carcassonne is not just a medieval city in southern France you know”.

Did we mention that Yuriy likes to think he can dance?
To read about other UCU employees that have been featured in a Spotlight please visit this page: Spot Light On...

*Camping related photos were taken by the (not-so)-world-famous photographer Jeff Wade.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fat Cat School Banking Program at St. Josaphat's

I had the pleasure today of joining Vera Homonko from our Bloor Street branch (Armadale) on her regular weekly visits to St. Josaphat's Catholic School in Toronto. The Principal at the school, Mrs. Lucy Dyczkowsky, welcomed us (as always) very warmly with a gift of delicious cookies!

Fat Cat keeps an eye on your savings!
Though Fat Cat (a.k.a. MydroKit) was not able to attend with us, he sent along some gifts for the children making deposits into their accounts in the form of Fat Cat coin banks.

St. Josaphat's Catholic School has always enthusiastically embraced the idea behind the School Banking Program - teaching kids at an early age to handle money responsibly. This month's school newsletter reminds students and parents that simply saving $5.00 per week adds up to $260.00 in savings for the year, before any interest is calculated. A tidy little sum indeed, to either invest further or to spend on something really special.

If your child attends St. Josaphat's Catholic School and doesn't yet have a bank account of their own, they can ask at the school office for an enrolment form. And since Pani Vera comes directly to school every week, kids don't even have to worry about getting to one of our branches.

It was also very nice to see on the school bulletin board a picture of when a group of students came by our branches on Bloor during Rizdvo to sings koliadas and wish us a very happy and fruitful year ahead. That visit was a very nice touch that brightened up our day immeasurably!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

In the Community: St. Demetrius the Great Martyr Youth Retreat

Kicking off the weekend with some icebreakers & introductions!

This past weekend a group of 50 youth attended the St. Demetrius the Great Martyr Youth Retreat at Mount Mary in Ancaster, as participants & leaders.  The retreat allows the opportunity for youth of various parishes come together to share thoughts & ideas, participate in leadership activities and to kick back and have some fun! Ukrainian Credit Union Limited is proud to be a sponsor of this weekend for youth in our community!
For more information on the St. Demetrius Youth Group visit them on facebook:

A little friendly competition!
Just one of the groups demonstrating that
teamwork & communication were key in this challenge!

 Enjoying the Winter Weather!

Friday, February 4, 2011

New financial column launched!

That's Roman Mlynko. If you don't know him yet, give him a call or
drop by his office at 225 The East Mall in Etobicoke
Meest Weekly a Ukrainian language newspaper serving the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada and other countries of the world has launched a new article series on finances which will feature articles by employees of Ukrainian Credit Union Limited. The series is being kicked off with an article written about how to get the most out of your RRSP investments. The article was written by Roman Mlynko, CFP. He is our main Wealth Management Consultant based out of our Etobicoke branch on the East Mall.

You can reach Roman at 416-207-9097 x245 or email him at

We hope you will enjoy reading the articles as much as we are going to enjoy writing them! Plus there's the added benefit of seeing our photos in the limelight.

In the community: 9th Annual Golden Horseshoe Volleyball Tournament

Ukrainian Credit Union Limited is a proud sponsor of the 9th Annual Golden Horseshoe Volleyball Tournament held by the McMaster Ukrainian Students’ Association (MUSA) this coming weekend.

As students and those that wish they were still students, begin to make the trek to Hamilton for the weekend, MUSA has put together a program that will not disappoint!

Saturday the teams will spend the day on the courts until the last team standing achieves bragging rights for the next year. In finest Ukrainian style the tournament will be followed by Dinner & Zabava featuring the music of Skopa & Kavalery.

The benefits of membership

Being a member of a credit union means having a say in the credit union's affairs. One way to do this is to get elected to the Board of Directors. The nomination process is now open. To find out how you can get nominated to run for a vacant seat on the board, visit our website and click on the graphic below:

Look for this image on our website
and click on it to read about the nominations.

What is invovled in being a director? Well you get to oversee the overall strategic direction that the credit union takes, you will represent the members and their collective interests, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are playing a role in the building of our community.

Hurry up though, nominations close on February 25, 2011.