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Regina-based Concentra Bank, formerly Concentra Financial Services Association, began operations on Jan. 1 as a Schedule I chartered bank after receiving approval from the federal minister of Finance on the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions’ recommendation.

The change in structure will allow Concentra to broaden its ability to provide financial services to the credit union industry across Canada, the firm says in a news release announcing the launch.

“Our transition to a bank is about a strategic decision to evolve so we can most effectively deliver the products and services credit unions need to create value for their members,” says Ken Kosolofski, president and CEO of Concentra, in a statement.

Concentra’s business model will remain predominantly business-to-business rather than retail, the firm says.

“Concentra now has greater ability to access the financial markets,” Kosolofski says. “We’ll use this greater access to deliver more competitive banking and trust solutions to our credit union partners across Canada, so they are better positioned to compete with the big banks, and grow relationships with its members.”

The Canadian credit union centrals own Concentra, which has $39.1 billion in assets under administration and $9.4 billion in total assets. Concentra will remain a financial co-operative, with the values and principles of the financial co-operative movement, the firm says. Concentra was formed in 2005, before which it was known as the Co-operative Trust Co. of Canada.

In September, Concentra and Toronto-based fintech firm Financeit acquired Toronto-Dominion Bank’s indirect home improvement financing assets in a $339-million deal. The move will help “accelerate Concentra’s business strategy to seek growth within the consumer lending market and diversify its wholesale business,” Concentra indicated at the time of acquisition.

“Teaming up with a fintech partner allows Concentra to offer credit unions access to point-of sale originated consumer assets from outside the credit union system,” Concentra indicated in that announcement. “Concentra aims to provide credit unions with new investment products that align with their need to diversify and improve margins.”

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