Vancity Credit Union today reported its fourth consecutive year of high profits.

Canada’s largest credit union said 2004 consolidated earnings from operations were $93.6 million, up from $78.0 million in 2003.

These results included a one-time $18.8 million boost due to an accounting policy change affecting the financial services industry. Net earnings increased to $57.2 million from $44.5 million in 2003. Total assets hit $10.5 billion, up from $9.0 billion in 2003.

VanCity said the results were driven by a growing economy, low interest rates and a continuing strong residential housing market that pushed loan volumes to historic levels. Lower loan write offs also helped the credit union maintain its strong margins.

24,000 new members joined the organization in 2004, marking a 10% increase over the previous year.

“We are proud of these results and even prouder of what they will allow us to do, which is share over 30% or $17.9 million with our members and the community groups in this region,” says Vancity board of directors chair Elain Duvall.

The highest amount ever, $10.5 million, will go to Vancity members through patronage rebates and member share dividends as part of the credit union’s Shared Success program, while $7.4 million will be distributed to non-profit organizations through Vancity’s various grants, including the annual $1-million Vancity Award.

VanCity is Canada’s largest credit union, with $10.5 billion in assets, more than 300,000 members, and 42 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria. VanCity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet.