Monday, October 31, 2011

Kyiv Chamber Choir

The Kyiv Chamber Choir featuring Mykola Hobdych, Conductor, is coming back for another tour of Canada. This year, the tour will last from November 24 to December 4 and besides stops in Toronto, Ottawa, St. Catharines and Kitchener-Waterloo, will also includes concerts in New York, Hartford, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Rochester NY.

For more information on concert dates and tickets sales please visit the official website for Kyiv Chanber Choir which is operated by their Canadian promoters Platinum Concerts International.

Week Two of UCU Investment Challenge

We've now concluded Week Two of the Investment Challenge, and for now Marc M. is running away in 1st place. There are still 6 weeks to go, with an opportunity for all portfolios to make changes, and so the second half of the contest could get very exciting. The race for second and third place is very tight, with the next five portfolios following the leader in a heated battle. Hats off to Lubomyr T. (25% gain), Adam F. (19% gain) and Yuri B. (jus under 12% gain) for generating double digit returns so far. But they shouldn't be too complacent, as Roman H. and Roksoliana L. are reight behind with over 9% returns. Almost 2/3 of the portfolios entered have generated positive returns up to now. We make an honourable mention for Jeffery Z. as his portfolio made one of the most dramatic turnarounds during this past week. Also, 2 of the top 7 portfolios are held by students!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Report on Business on Yellow Media!

Yellow Media (YLO-T) is a very interesting story, especially since it plays a prominent role in our UCU Investment Challenge contest. For those interested, there is a full scale article on YLO in today's Report on Business magazine, which is included in the Globe and Mail newspaper. The article discusses the early success of the company, in striving to monopolize the print advertising space in Canada, and how they are branching into the digital and Internet sphere. The article points out that annual revenue, which has been stable for several years, is at about $1.6 billion, with 2nd quarter 2011 revenues of $343 million and earnings before interest and taxes at $176 million. The story does cover the errors they made in managing their capital structure, and how things unravelled since then. Read the article here: The logo above is courtesy of Google Images.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More charities now signed up to our ChangeIt service!

Over the past several weeks some twenty new charities have signed up to the ChangeIt service Ukrainian Credit Union recently began offering to its members.

Charities serving the Ukrainian community directly continue to lead the way. Around a third of all charities using the service represent various interests in the Ukrainian community, from church groups, to children's charities, to homes for the aged.

Recent additions to the list include:
  • Canadian Ukrainian Immigrant Aid Society
  • Children of Chornobyl Canadian Fund
  • House of Prayer (Pentacostal-Slavic)

Other charities that have signed up range from The Saskatoon Ronald McDonald House, to the United Way of Kitchener-Waterloo, to the Meningitis Research Foundation of Canada, even The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is now on board (bet this is the first time you ever heard of this organization, but donkeys need a place to call home too).

We are hoping soon to see other important causes represented such as charities dedicated to fighting cancer, Alzheimers and liver disease, charities fighting global poverty and more, since these and many more issues are important to our members. We also want to see more Ukrainian community charities take up the challenge to lead the way in introducing a truly important service to the Canadian public. UCU's example is already being repeated at several other credit unions across Canada including some major western-based credit unions.

Visit the ChangeIt page on our website to learn more!

Anticipation for a Big Day on the Markets!

Today, Europe leaders have come out with a plan to help Greece lower its debt as bondholders will take a 50% haircut, while the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) that is funded to the tune of 440 billion euros will be levered up to closer to 1 trillion + euros. Globally markets are reacting very positively, and we provide a snapshot of global futures markets at 9am to show the anticipated pop in equities at the start of trading today. As well, strong earnings out of Barrick Gold (ABX-T) and stronger gold and commodity prices this morning should provide additional support to several portfolios in the competition!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Shumka Tickets on Sale


But UCU members can still get them at the discount price straight from the Sony Centre box office. Call us or visit one of our branches to get the order code that you will have to quote in order to get the discount. 

Shumka's appearance in Toronto on November 25 and 26 at the Sony Centre is getting closer every day. Tickets to the two shows are selling like hotcakes at our branches.

We are selling the tickets at a good discount from the regular price. The total cost including taxes is $57.00 per ticket.

All of our branches in the GTA have tickets still available - Bloor West, Etobicoke, St. Demetrius, North York, Mississauga, Oshawa and St. Catharines. If you are a member at one of the other branches and would like tickets, never fear, ask your member representative to order some tickets for you and we will deliver them to the branch for you to pick up at a later time.

Brilliance or Dumb Luck?!

Call it what you like, but this stock has had a big impact on our competition, if this trend doesn't change over the next several weeks. Just a week and half into our 8 week contest, and Yellow Media (YLO-T) has generated a 129% return for the lead portfolio in our contest. Now, I'm not counting any portfolio out or anything like that, but either brillance or plain dumb luck has put one contestant far and away into the lead. The second highest portfolio return up to now is 15%, and third highest is 7%. It is still early days, and we'll keep posting developments. The chart above is a 10-day chart of YLO-T courtesy of

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Special offers on Kontakt TV

Watch Kontakt TV every Saturday for exclusive offers from Ukrainian Credit Union Limited! The only way to get these offers for yourself is to watch the show and send an email to the address that is announced during Ron Cahute's "Stay Ukrainian my Friend" segment.

To view past episodes of Kontakt TV, visit the Kontakt YouTube Channel.

Support a good cause, and maybe get richer while doing it!

The Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre recently published the 2012 Living Well Calendar which it selling in order to raise funds. The calendar retails for $20 and you can purchase it at any GTA area UCU branch (Bloor, Etobicoke, St. Demetrius, North York, Mississauga, Oshawa and St. Catharines).

Members in other branches can also purchase the calendar if they wish by ordering one or more copies at their branch. We will ship the calendars out to the branch for pick up.

By purchasing the calendar, you are not only supporting a great cause, but you are also getting a chance to win one of 79 prizes that will be awarded throughout 2012.

To learn more about the Ukrainian Canadian Care Centre please visit:

The prizes are:

Jackpot of $1,000 cash
4 seasonal prizes of $300
12 monthly prizes of $200
52 weekly prizes of $100

Don't wait, there are limit quantities available!

Monday, October 24, 2011

UCU Investment Challenge - Week One Update!

We've just completed the first week of activity for our portfolios, and we've now priced all positions and have portfolio values as of the end of trading on October 17th. It was quite a dramatic week, with a couple very big companies reporting mixed earnings - Apple Inc missed street estimates, and their shares fell about $30 from a high of about $426 on Oct. 17th, to $393 on Oct 21st. On the other hand, McDonalds had stellar results, and their stock popped higher by about 2%. AAPL is trading up over $10/share today, and so some of the lost ground is being made back. Companies held in our portfolios that report earnings this week include: Canadian Utilities, Atco, Inmet, Barrick Gold, Vale, Gold Corp and Agnico Eagle. The leader after Week One is up over 36%, with most portfolios hovering +/- the starting value of $100,000.

Svitohliad features Marta Tryshak

Earlier this month Marta graced the cover of UC Family Magazine (if you haven't seen the mag yet, run out to a UCU branch near you and get a copy, they are disappearing fast! - Great magazine). Then on the weekend she made an appearance on Svitohliad - a Ukrainian television program broadcast on OMNI TV.

During the program the host Iryna Korpan asked about Marta's interest in the fashion world, her fashion blog, her monthly column in UC Family Magazine and about her life in general.

We've posted some photos from the taping session on our Facebook page here: Marta Tryshak UCU MasterCard Personal Shopper album.
Broadcast times for Svitohliad can be found here: Svitohliad on OMNI TV. You can read more about Marta here: Things you didn't know about UCU members and also on her fashion blog

If you have not yet signed up for a UCU MasterCard, don't wait, there is just over a month left for you to be able to get a chance to win a $1,000 Shopping Spree with a Personal Shopper!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Greetings on International Credit Union Day!


In the 1840s, a group of workers in Rochdale, England chose to create a democratic consumer cooperative. In 1852 and 1864, the first true credit unions were founded in Germany. These milestones were followed by efforts in the early 1900s by the Desjardins family, who started a credit union (caisse populaire) in Quebec. Shortly afterward, they helped establish credit unions in the United States.

As time passed, a need gradually emerged to establish a specific annual occasion to call attention to the impact of these financial organizations on the lives of millions of people – to honour the gifts and achievements of the many pioneers who founded credit unions and their service groups over the past 150 years. Now, the credit union movement has reached 84 countries worldwide. In 2002, 112 million credit union members celebrated ICU Day. 

On January 27, 1927, the Credit Union League of Massachusetts in the United States of America celebrated the first official holiday for credit union members and workers.  This day was chosen because it was the birthday of America’s “Apostle of Thrift,” Benjamin Franklin.  However, after a brief trial period, the practice of Credit Union Day ceased.

In 1948, the U.S. Credit Union National Association (CUNA) decided to try a new national Credit Union Day celebration. The third Thursday of October was set aside as the national day of observance. By then, many more of America’s credit Union leaders believed there was a need for an occasion that would bring people together to reflect upon their cooperative history, their credit Union achievements and to promote the credit union idea across the country.

By 1971, worldwide credit union progress was so substantial that is was again decided to restructure the movement and to form the World Council of Credit Unions, Inc.  This organization assisted others in the establishment and maintenance of vialbe credit union movements, whereever the need and desire were expressed. In Canada, Australia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, New Zealand, Great Britain and the South Pacific, national and regional credit union  federations and confederations were established to support and endorse credit union development.

As more people became involved, a variety of ways to mark the occasion were created.  Members of the World Council of Credit Unions now celebrate International Credit Union Day by sponsoring open houses at credit union facilities, picnics, fairs, festivals and parades. Other events may include public gatherings with visiting dignitaries, television and radio interviews, articles in newspapers and magazines, contests for children, and banquets to pay tribute to past, present and future credit union leaders.

The roots of the Ukrainian Credit Union Limited and other credit unions established in Canada, America, Europe and Australia lie in the Ukrainian Cooperative Movement which was based primarily in Western Ukraine. This movement, which first arose in 1883, addressed the economic plight of the western Ukrainian people through the creation of financial, agricultural and trade cooperatives that enabled western Ukrainians to pool their resources, to obtain less expensive loans and insurance, and to pay less for products such as farm equipment. The cooperatives played a major role in the social and economic mobilization of the western Ukrainian people, most of whom were peasants. By 1939 cooperatives had 700,000 members in western Ukraine, employing 15,000 Ukrainians. The cooperatives were shut down by the Soviet authorities in 1939 when western Ukraine was annexed into the Soviet Union.

The first credit union in Ukraine pre-dated even the beginning of the Cooperative movement. Vira Credit Union was established in 1874. In 1904, a central association of Ukrainian cooperatives was formed, which had 550 institutional affiliates and 180,000 individual members. After the First World War the cooperative movement grew and became elaborately organized. Credit Unions were united into the Tsentrobank ("Central Bank").

Western Ukrainians brought cooperatives with them as they emigrated to North and South America, western Europe and Australia. Credit unions served the purpose of offering personal and business loans that Ukrainian immigrants would have otherwise have had difficulty obtaining from other financial institutions. The success of the Ukrainian credit unions is reflected in the fact that by 2010, the Ukrainian Credit Unions in Canada alone have over $1.6 Billion in assets. According to an annual report produced by Bohdan Leshchyshen, MBA, CFA titled "Ukrainian Credit Unions in Canada - 2010 Financial Results", Ukrainian credit unions as a group outperform their peers in many areas.

UCU Investment Challenge Update - Portfolio Standings

After three days, we've put up a couple of charts to track the 49 portfolios we have taking part in the contest to see how things stand. We have created a chart of the value of the portfolios as of the close of trading on October 19th. Because of the large number of participants, we needed to put up 2 charts. These are in random order, but you can recognize your name and see where your portfolio stands as of yesterday at 4pm.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 3 Could See Interesting Portfolio Moves

The first two days of trading in our UCU Investment Challenge portfolios has been interesting, as negative market tone has switched into positive tone, and fairly abruptly mid-day yesterday, readusting some portfolio values. Today will be quite interesting because of the earnings miss by Apple (AAPL), the first time the company missed quarterly earnings estimates since 2004! AAPL is the most popular holding in our universe of positions, and so there will be an interesting dynamic evolving in portfolio valuations.

Monday, October 17, 2011

And They're Off!

Today we officially start the UCU Investment Challenge!

I have to say we are very impressed with the interest shown in this contest - the participation numbers are really great, as 50 portfolios have been entered! This is still an unofficial number, as we still have a couple of things to verify with participants, but irrespective of that, the turnout we have will make for a very interesting contest! As I mentioned before, just by looking at the positions that are in the various portfolios, we have a highly sophisticated base of participants.

Completely unintended, the launch of the contest happens to coincide with one of the busiest weeks in the corporate earnings calendar in the US, as many companies will be reporting their 3rd quarter earnings this week. One of the most popular stock picks among our participants is AAPL (Apple Inc), which is a position in 25% of the portfolios entered. AAPL reports their 3rd quarter earnings at the close of trading on Tuesday, October 18th. Other companies reporting earnings this week that we find in various portfolios include: McDonalds, American Express, Honeywell, Wynn Resorts, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, Encana, JNJ and Citigroup.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Things you didn't know about UCU members

Spot light on:

Luke Melnyk

Yesterday, the Toronto Star ran an article about Luke Melnyk a long time UCU member and son of one of our very helpful Call Centre employees Olya Melnyk. One of Luke's passions is growing ginormous pumpkins and other vegetables. He currently has a 300 pounder sitting in his yard - and before you starting having visions of rolling farmland, get this: he grows it in his backyard on a quite Etobicoke street.

You can read more about Luke and his pumpkin patch at this link:  The Great Pumpkin. You can also watch a video of the prize winning gourd TheStar It’s the great pumpkin, Charlie Brown — in Etobicoke

Another thing about Luke is that he runs a landscaping and maintenance company called Mudcat. If you want to learn more about that, why not call him directly at 416-803-3319?

UCU Investment Challenge Ready for Launch!

We have had a great response so far to the UCU Investment Challenge, which will officially be set at midnight tonight. We have 27 portfolios entered, which is really great, as it will be a competitive contest. The entries are quite varied, with most focused on stocks (in both Canada and the US), but also ETFs and mutual funds as positions. Some of the most popular positions include AAPL (Apple), GOOG (Google), and MCD (McDonald's).

It's also interesting to see how several entries have adjusted their position weights in anticipation of creating torque in their portfolio, to capture either upside moves in their positions. Looks like we have a very sophisticated investing crowd here, and I look forward to hearing from our contestants or anyone else following this contest with their thoughts and insights on market moves during the contest. We start tracking price changes for all positions on October 17, and there is a trade date set for November 17th, so if anyone wants to make position switches, 5pm deadline on November 17th is your chance. Good luck to all!

For more info on the contest, please visit this link: UCU Investment Challenge.


To read a bit about Michael Zienchuk please visit his Spotlight entry.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

UCU Investment Challenge about to start!

Just a day and a bit left till our 1st UCU Investment Challenge kicks off at midnight October 14, 2011. People have been furiously submitting their picks over the past two days. We are still waiting for a bunch to send their opening positions in, but in the meantime, there are plenty of people locked and loaded for this to be a real competition.

There is still plenty of room to join though. So if you haven't yet (and you don't want to miss the opportunity to win $1,000) then sign up before the stroke of midnight tomorrow. To enter fill out the UCU Investment Challenge Entry Form.

If you need help picking stocks, there are useful links about halfway down this page in the section titled: Need help picking stocks, funds or ETFs?

You can view a pdf of the unofficial list of entrants and stock picks here: Unofficial Contestant list. We will publish an official list once the contest begins. And you will be able to see how everyone is doing on our blog and at our Facebook page as we will be posting regular updates tracking each contestant's performance over the course of the challenge.

Good luck to all who have entered!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Issue #2 of UC Family Magazine hits the stands

The second issue of UC Family Magazine is out this week. If you haven't heard of this magazine yet, you really need to pick up a copy. It's available at Ukrainian Credit Union Limited branches right now.

It's mostly in Ukrainian - so if you're not fluent you might still want to pick it up for the pictures. Anyway, this type of magazine has been sorely missing in our community for a while. Something that is vibrant, colourful, interesting to read and topical - and aimed at a general audience.

You may recognize Marta Tryshak on the cover. She's our spokesmodel for the UCU MasterCard Shopping Spree with a Personal Shopper Campaign. If you haven't signed up for a card yet, hurry up, you still have a chance to win the $1,000 Shopping Spree.

More on the publishers of this magazine can be found here: The first issue of the magazine featured Mandry on the cover and a great interview with the band. Looking forward to the third issue.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More great fall events - St. Elias Apple Harvest Festival

One event that we missed in our recent post about events is the upcoming St. Elias Apple Harvest Festival. You can read more about it in the flyer at the left. Or visit the St. Elias Church web site to learn more.

This is the first annual Apple Harvest at the church so come out and help them make this a successful and recurring event!

BREAKING NEWS: The organizers wanted to let eveyrone know of a last minute change in their line-up. Unfortunately Vasyl Popadiuk is unable to make the festival. In his place Victor Mishalow will perform. Also, the organizers are hoping for a last minute special guest from a bit further away to be able to perform. However they don't have final confirmation yet, so we'll have to keep that part a bit mysterious for now!

Should be a great time nonetheless.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Save a tree! Win an iPad! Grand prize winner announced

Roman Pyndiura holds the iPad he won in UCU's
Save a tree! Win an iPad! e-Statement contest 
Well we had several hundred people sign up to stop receiving their paper account statements and instead convert to e-statements only. Over the past two months we drew several names from among them and five people ended up winning iPod Nanos. You can see the list of winners here.

But the big prize if you remember was an iPad. Well, the moment everyone has been waiting for so long is now here. This morning we gathered up all the entries once again and in front of three witnesses who certified the results, we drew the final name..... and the winner of the iPad is: Roman Pyndiura! Congratulations!

To opt out of e-Statements, either email our or log into your online banking account and fill out the request form.

Windsor Ukrainian Fest a Smash Hit

Performers on the inside stage on Friday night.
WUHF! The Windsor Ukrainian Heritage Festival was born over the weekend, and it was a blast. Despite the rain and unseasonably cold weather (Friday's weather was entirely yucky and Saturday's was merely tolerable), the first edition of this festival was a major success. Lots of people came by on both days to sample the delicious food, watch various Ukrainian, Polish and Slovak dancing groups and other performers, and to stop by the Ukrainian Credit Union booth to sign up for the UCU Investment Challenge.

The festival was held September 30 and October 1 on the grounds of St. Volodymyr Cultural Centre attached to St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Tecumseh Street in Windsor, Ontario. Many people braved the bitter weather on Friday night to pack the dining hall. The organizers were forced to move the show indoors, despite a great stage that had been set up outside.

UCU's Windsor Branch Manager Mike Kryworuchko talks
with Fr. Trynoha, the Pastor of St. Volodymyr Church
The weather brightened up somewhat on Saturday allowing the festival to move outdoors at least until it got too cold again in the evening.

As the main sponsor, Ukrainian Credit Union Limited was present throughout the festival. Staff from our Windsor branch put in tons of volunteer hours explaining to members and others what our UCU Investment Challenge is all about. We also used the event as an opportunity to let Windsor know about our great new 5-year mortgage rate of 3.44%. Even the guy from Scotia Bank who dropped by to chat said he was impressed with the rate as it is below anything he is able to offer.

In the dining hall on Friday night.
Much warmer inside than out!

A Toronto-based dance group performs Saturday afternoon
on the outside stage. It was cold but bearable.

People take the Zirkova Caesar Challenge. We can attest to the fact that
Zirkova-based Caesars are a divinely inspired libation.
You can tell that Saturday was sunny, but cold.
The church were the event was held is quite an historical landmark in Windsor. Not just for the Ukrainian community, though it does contain a museum of Ukrainian arts and crafts as well as an archive of documentary material. It is also recognized in the multimedia section of the Mriya - Ukrainian Dreams on the Windsor Public Library site. There are pictures and videos of the Church and its cultural museum available at the link. 
The Iconostasis inside St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Useful links:

St. Catharines Advisory Committee welcomes new blood

Pictured (standing) Jerry Pryshlak, UCU Board Secretary, Diane Kusiak, Chair - St. Catharines Advisory Committee, Yaroslav Diduch, new member of Advisory Committee, Anna Zappia, Advisory Committee member, (seated) Kathryn Hryb and Robert Diakow, both members of the Advisory Committe.
Last week the Advisory Committee at our St. Catharines branch held its regular bi-monthly meeting. The Committee's typical business includes acting as a liaison between the local community, the branch staff and the larger UCU organization. The Committee also determines how to apportion donations and sponsorships among charitable and community organizations as well as which cultural and social events to actively support either through sponsorships or volunteerism.

This past meeting also served as an occasion to welcome a new Committee member into the fold. Yaroslav Diduch is a lawyer and St. Catharines resident working with a local firm. Yaroslav is apparently one of the only lawyers in the area who is able to serve clients in Ukrainian.

We wish Yaroslav all the best and look forward to his active participation in the Committee's work.