Home » Industry & Business » The Credit Union with Small Business Solutions

Derek Turner

Senior Vice President – Commercial Operations & Small Business, Coast Capital Savings


Amir Rahim

Founder, Grounded Kitchen, Coffee & Bar

According to Derek Turner, Coast Capital Savings’ Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations and Small Business, 98% of businesses in Canada are considered small businesses; they’re vitally important for our economy. But small business owners face many unique challenges, including being pressed for time, balancing multiple business functions, and often not having access to extra liquidity to help address short-term cash flow.

It’s this latter challenge that Coast Capital Savings, Canada’s largest credit union by members, is trying to solve through a new, innovative solution and partnership with OnDeck Canada, a leading online small business lender.

Partnership drives business success

“This partnership was driven by feedback from our small business members, who told us how difficult it was to access short-term loans for capital improvements, or investments in their business,” says Turner. “We’re very deliberate about the solutions we introduce for our members, so we looked across the financial space to see who does it well, and we saw what OnDeck Canada was doing we knew they would be an ideal partner.” 

Turner adds that traditional lenders often take more time to make these types of lending decisions, which can have a huge impact on the success of a small business. Coast Capital was drawn to OnDeck Canada because they have a proven product that’s backed by positive reviews from clients. “They’ve done a lot of work in data analytics and have an easy online application, with decisions often made within 24 hours,” says Turner. “We are one of the first credit union in Canada to offer this type of partnership, and so far the feedback has been positive.”

While there is a cost to the financing, it’s worth it for me, because I can focus on my business, instead of worrying about whether I have enough cash-flow to cover payroll, rent, and taxes.

Amir Rahim, owner of the Grounded Kitchen, Coffee and Bar in Ottawa

A winning business case

Amir Rahim, who has owned the Grounded Kitchen, Coffee and Bar, in Ottawa for the past 10 years, is the perfect example of a small business that has benefited from OnDeck Canada. “Having access to cash flow is critical for small businesses,” says Rahim. “I’ve seen restaurants close because they couldn’t pay to keep the wheels turning. OnDeck Canada was able to give me short-term credit that I wouldn’t have been able to get from the bank.”

For Rahim, it was OnDeck Canada’s great customer service, uncomplicated process, and the organizations deep understanding about the needs of small businesses that sold him on this solution. “Without OnDeck Canada, I wouldn’t have been able to grow my business. I’ve increased my staff from 3 to 12. I have a loyal base of customers and I’ve affected the lives of my staff in a very positive way,” he says. “While there is a cost to the financing, it’s worth it for me, because I can focus on my business, instead of worrying about whether I have enough cash-flow to cover payroll, rent, and taxes.”

Banking essentials for small business

Borrow without sorrow. Instead of using personal funds to finance your small business growth, you may want to consider a line of credit, short-term business loan, or credit card.

Don’t let cash flow become a cash drain. When looking for a business account, consider the fees incurred for transactions and your balance at any given time.

Keep it simple with merchant accounts. As consumers favour debit or credit cards more than cash, a merchant account is great for cash management and record-keeping. Find one that suits your needs based on your business’ transaction volume and value.

Don’t mix personal and business expenses. Keeping transactions separate makes it easier to track and report come tax season, in addition to building your business’ credit.

Save separately for business and your next vacation. As an entrepreneur, you should save in anticipation of future business needs. This will help you borrow less in the long-term.

Next article