Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fat Cat invites you to A Cat's Wedding!

Mark your calendars on April 30th Svitlychka Ukrainian Cooperative Nursery School will be hosting its annual Cat's Wedding (). Join Fat Cat in witnessing this great happening packed full of music, danicng, food, face-painting, games, crafts, magician's and more! Watch for a flyer with all the details in your UCU or So-Use monthly statement.
Click here for more info about the Cat's Wedding.

Svitlychka is a licensed, non-profit, nursery school offering a Ukrainian Immersion Program dedicated to giving young children the opportunity to grow and develop as individuals within an enriched Ukrainian environment.

A heartfelt thanks

When is the last time that you received a note telling you that you’re appreciated in the mail?

Well we got a fantastic little handmade note of thanks for the MUSA Executive Council acknowledging our Gold Sponsorship of their volleyball event. This courteous gesture made our day here at the office!
The thank you note signed by Olena Kit, MUSA President and
Dominika Tomczyk, MUSA VP, and yes, stamps, handwriting
and photo print shops still exist!

The note reads in part:

The McMaster Ukrainian Students' Association (MUSA) would like to thank you for your generous donation towards helping us make this year's 9th Annual Golden Horseshoe Volleyball Tournament, Dinner and Zabava a great succcess! We could not have out together such a fantastic event without your help!
This group of students should be rented out to run your next fundraiser or social event. Not only did they hold a successful event but their PR has been outstanding!
We love you MUSA!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Contest - First 20 Submissions Win a Prize!

- Best Photo Wins $50 Gift Card -

UCU has been handing out corporate swag for over six decades and we want to see your collection!

Be one of the first 20 to enter & get a $5 Tim Horton’s Card

Step 1:   Take a photo of yourself modeling your UCU/So-Use branded gear.
Step 2:   Post your photo on the UCU facebook page: into the Spring Contest 2011 photo album (if you don't have a facebook account, email your picture to and we'll post it for you.)

PLUS People’s Choice Award
The photo with the most “likes” as of April 30, 2011 will receive a $50 gift card

So… pull out that t-shirt from tabir that’s UCU branded, that mug in your baba’s cupboard that has been there since you can remember, or that package of breath mints which really came in handy last night.
Show Us Your Member Spirit!

Applicant must be 18 years of age or older.
By posting your photo you give UCU rights to use the photo for promotional purposes.
UCU reserves the right at its sole discretion to reject any photos deemed inappropriate.
Limit of one $5 prize per person.

Білі Каштани / Blossom Ball is almost here again!

Spring is here and soon the Blossom Ball shall be too! The mission of the Blossom Ball is to raise money for a chapel to compliment the existing banquet hall at the St. Volodymyr Cultural Centre in Oakville Ontario. The chapel will serve the growing Ukrainian community of western GTA for weddings, baptisms, "Molebens", funerals, "Panachydas", and special occasions. As an open concept chapel in a pastoral setting, it will be ideal for summer occasions.

Gloria (Славка) Chewchuk, Chair of the Blossom Ball Committee invites everyone on behalf of the St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Toronto, the St. Volodymyr Cultural Centre, the Chapel building committee and its Blossom Ball fundraising committee. The gala evening takes place on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at the St. Volodymyr Cultural Centre in Oakville.

If you would like to join UCU's leadership in sponsoring this great event, visit this page for details on how you can contribute: Blossom Ball sponsor page

To order tickets go to the Blossom Ball home page and click on the Ticket Order Form link.

Below are some artists conceptions of what the chapel will look like once it is completed.

Building Community - Будуємо громаду - Sneak Peek! - Part 2

Our AGM is getting closer and so is the moment we will unveil our new project. By the way, this year's AGM is going to prove to be pretty interesting as we have a number of people running for seats on the board. As a member, you have the right to vote for board members (or apply to become one, so think about that for next year if it interests you). By casting your vote, you are exercising one of your best options for influencing how your credit union operates.

We would like to see you at the AGM. If you have not yet reserved your complimentary dinner ticket for the AGM, please call 416-922-4407 ext 2 or 3 before March 31, 2011.

In the meantime, here's another little hint of what we will unveil at the AGM.

Is that our Creative Director Chrystyna Mackenzie, Principal of Creative Quotient Inc.
off to the right of the picture there? I guess this means we are going to see
something very artistic at the AGM

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In-trust accounts

This week in our financial column in Meest Newspaper, our anchoring correspondent Roman Mlynko returns to discuss In-Trust accounts. Pick up a paper tomorrow to read the whole story. If you have any questions about In-Trust accounts, Roman will be more than glad to answer them for you at 416-207-9097 x245 or

Friday, March 11, 2011

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

Spot light on:
Natalia Chervonyi

Natalia Chervonyi is the Financial Service Representative at our London Branch. This year she will be celebrating 20 years of service at UCU. There is no one at UCU who has as much experience about our membership and community in London as Natalia does. So if you want to reminisce about people or events from years past, don’t hesitate to talk to Natalia since she knows it all.

Natalia was born in Rivne, Ukraine and lived there until she finished high school. Natalia comes from a big family – she has three brothers and one sister. She was really good at sport, especially athletics. In grade school her coach predicted a splendid future in sport but after the family emigrated from Ukraine, she had to put athletics aside.

Natalia took a circuitous route in getting to London. The first stop for Natalia was Austria. She will never forget the beauty of Vienna, where she first got the chance to live on her own. She got her first job at a hotel in Austria at the tender age of 17. It was a wondrous experience, exposing her to a wide range of new experiences. For example, Natalia had never tried bananas and other exotic fruits before coming to Austria – in Soviet times, these sorts of delicacies usually didn’t make it past Moscow and other major cities.

Natalia & her family

When the family relocated to London, Natalia landed her first job in Canada as a Member Service Representative at London branch. It was 1991, she had just married, and came with her husband to open a joint account. The assistant branch manager offered her a job on the spot! Natalia was didn’t have much banking experience at the time, but she dove into the job with great gusto. Anyone who comes into the branch can immediately sense that she is devoted to her job and to the members, all of whom she knows by name.  

Natalia is a busy mom of four. It is hard to believe that her older children are grown up already. She has an outgoing and positive personality, always smiling and joking she makes special atmosphere at the branch. She gets along with everybody.

Natalia is also an active member of her church community. She loves singing. She and her family take part in the church choir and musical band. She teaches at Ukrainian Sunday School. She enjoys camping, travelling, knitting and cooking. And recently we discovered her new hobby – building houses. Her own house is her first project – she came up with the design and is acting as the general contractor. Just think – our Natalia on a construction site with steel-toed boots and a yellow hard hat!

Showing off all their hard work!
Hey... those don't look like construction boots!?

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

Debt Consolidation - This week's financial topic

Maria Binczarowski
Our column on financial matters in Meest newspaper turns to debt consolidation this week. The author, Maria Binczarowski, discusses what you can do if you find yourself falling behind on your credit card and other debt obligations. To find out what she has to say, pick up a copy of this week's Meest newspaper.

Maria works out of our Mississauga branch located on Cawthra Road next door to St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Chruch. If you have any questions about debt consolidation, or personal loans in general, feel free to call maria at 905-272-0468 or email her at

Monday, March 7, 2011

Building Community - Будуємо громаду - Sneak Peek!

Today we are going to treat you to a very special little sneak peek at something that you will see come to life on April 12, 2011, at our 67th Annual General Meeting.

Well, that's really all we can show you for now. If you want to find out who that "hot seat" in the bottom right hand corner is reserved for, you will have to attend our AGM. To reserve your complimentary dinner ticket for the AGM, please call 416-922-4407 ext 2 or 3 before March 31, 2011.

You might want to also keep an eye on the blog in case we let slip any more little hints.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ukrainian Frontiers - Curling in St. Catharines

Today (March 4) saw the debut performance of "Ukrainian Frontiers" UCU's very own curling team at the St. Catharines - Thorold Chamber of Commerce Bonspiel. The idea for the team was dreamt up by Yuriy Nesvit, our branch manager in St. Catharines, who is an active participant in the events held by the Chamber. Yuriy held a recruitment drive, spending considerable evenings poring over scouting reports, deciding who to draft onto the team, and holding training sessions and skills camps, before he settled on his perfect team.

"Ukrainian Frontiers" curling team.
Pictured L to R: John (our skip), Yuriy N., Yuriy D., and Earl

I was honored to be chosen as part of the team even though I had never curled before in my life. Yuriy must have seen some hidden talent and chosen me on that basis. What that hidden talent was, became obvious once the tourney started. turns out the winners have to buy the losers a round (I guess Yuriy was counting on my total lack of skill to help out in that regard!).

Yuriy Nesvit channels Wayne Middaugh

In any case, I was pleasantly surprised by two things. 1. Curling is a whole heap of fun. 2. It is much more of a workout than I had imagined. All that sweeping really warms you up.

We played Bob's team (he's holding the
motor oil) first. Carol Ann (on the left)
owns a great little B&B in Port Dalhousie.
Also pictured are Nancy and Bert.

So how did we do? Well the first two teams we played were kind enough to let us come out ahead.
Yuriy Nesvit with the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers team
members. They had the best uniforms,
but it was not enough to stop us.

Then it was off to lunch and some serious networking. Much to our surprise, when we went to check the standings after lunch, not only were we unbeaten, but we were in second place points-wise. And thus, we found ourselves in the Championship playoff against the Honeywell 1 team.

We played through 4 tension filled ends. After the second end, we actually had to pull out one of those compass-like devices to measure which rock was closest to the button. We had to measure twice it was so close! Down by one point leading into the fourth end, we slowly and strategically placed our rocks exactly where they needed to be. But the Honeywell team, just as doggedly, kept blasting us out of scoring position. On our last rock our skip made a perfect shot that would have allowed us to tie the game up and force an extra end. But alas, Honeywell had the hammer and used it to their best advantage. No matter, we came in second place out of 12 teams so we were pretty proud of ourselves.
The Honeywell 1 team that finally succeeded
 in taking us down in the championship game.
L to R: Dawn, Jack, Jeff, Dan

Diane Kusiak, Membership Manager of the St. Catharines
Chamber of Commerce and one of the Bonspiel organizers,
is also a member of UCU’s St. Catharines Advisory Council
Anyway, Ukrainian Frontiers owes a debt of gratitude to our skip John for seeing us through to the final. And we'll be back next year hungry for that trophy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

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

Spot light on:

Diane Comtois
Diane at a pig roast welcoming members
from the former St. Josaphat’s Credit Union
into the UCU family.
Diane Comtois is the Credit Manager at Ukrainian Credit Union Limited working out of our Head Office on Evans Avenue. She’s been with us since 1993 (though not as the credit manager the whole time – she started out in the position of Credit Supervisor). The financial industry has been Diane’s “one true love” career-wise. She began as a part-time teller at TD Bank when she was 17 and has never looked back.

UCU really benefitted from the excellent training and development program at TD Bank since Diane made the jump to “the better way of the credit union system,” – in her words – after learning the ropes for 13 years at the bank.
Diane was born out west in Winnipeg, a city that is dear to the hearts of many Ukrainian-Canadians. Though she moved to Ontario in childhood, we suspect that somehow the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg must have subconsciously insinuated itself into her mind since she can flawlessly pronounce a number of key phrases in Ukrainian such as “Dobryden”. Currently she lives in the northern end of the GTA with her husband/high-school sweetheart (awww!) and their two children.

Diane and her children.
Her many recreational interests include golf (she’s often seen at tournaments that UCU has sponsored), camping, gardening, baking and wine tasting. She hopes to start adding more travel to this list of interests, but I guess we keep her a bit too busy at the moment. Every year she goes with one of her girlfriends and a combined total of six children for a week of camping. “Surviving a week of camping with just us girls and the kids is always a major accomplishment,” she says. “This year will be my seventh year in a row.” Sounds like they get along just fine!

One thing that few people likely know about Diane is that she is a Sunday school teacher with a program affectionately known as “KFC” which stands for Kids for Christ. Diane is a very active volunteer: She also sits on the Finance Committee of New Hope Methodist Church and she is the Treasurer and a Director on the Board of the Newmarket Christian Academy where her daughter goes to school. Finally, Diane is a regular blood donor.
Like many of our head office management staff, Diane is not necessarily very visible to the bulk of our membership – unless of course you are one of our commercial account members, in which case you might know her quite well – maybe you’ve even golfed with her. In any case, Diane is an important part of the team that keeps our credit union well-managed and among the most creditworthy and fiscally stable financial institutions in Ontario.
To read about other UCU employees that have been featured in a Spot Light please visit this page: Spot Light On...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Meet another member of our financial advice team

Anna Procio
By now you must be well aware of the financial advice column UCU employees are writing in Meest newspaper. In this week's article, Anna Procio, Financial Officer in UCU's Wealth Management Group, writes about the protection that money you deposit in a credit union gets from the provincial government. Read the article to learn about DICO (Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario) and its role in making sure your money is safe.

Anna is probably a new face for many of our members, but our members from So-Use will recognize her as a long time employee. If you have any questions about this topic, or any other one for that matter, feel free to call Anna at 416.763.5575 x200 or email her at