Episode 2.07 – Stephen Bolton – CEO Libro Credit Union

The Head Coach since 2012, Stephen has been with Libro since 1988. He spearheaded the combination with United Communities Credit Union in 2013 while focusing on economic development in southwestern Ontario, while enabling and ensuring outstanding customer satisfaction levels. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Windsor, and an Executive MBA from the Ivey School of Business. He is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors Program through the Rotman School of Management, an Associate of the Credit Union Institute of Canada, a graduate of the Queen’s Executive Program, and holds certificates from the Canadian Securities Institute.

During his career, Stephen has been on a number of community and financial services boards. He currently serves as a director on the London Economic Development Corporation Board, as well as the Canadian Credit Union Association, of which he was Chair of the Board for 2016 – 2018. Stephen and his wife Betty live on a farm west of London, and have two children. He enjoys reading, coaching, travelling, running, and biking. He is active on social media.

Twitter: @SteveLibroCU

Twitter: @libroCU


Libro’s History

Music notes
Deadly Roulette by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/3625-deadly-roulette
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license


Questions/Topics of Discussion with Stephen

  • Tell me a little a bit about yourself – what was your journey to becoming President, CEO and Head Coach at Libro Credit Union?
  • Can you tell me about the parallel journey of Libro?
    • So everyone is clear, what is the difference between a credit union and a bank?
    • You are a BCorp for those that don’t know what does that mean?
  • How has COVID-19 impacted Libro? Lots of talk about how the nature of work has changed due to the pandemic? How has COVID changed and continue to change Libro going forward?
    • What impacts have you seen on your owners, business that work with you, the
      communities you are in?
  • Libro has 30ish locations across SW Ontario. One of the broader themes of the podcast is telling
    some of the broader SW Ontario narratives. As a result Libro has a unique position to be in
    communities across the region, so I am curious what are some of the narratives or stories
    coming out of these communities that people don’t hear but you get to see?
  • Building community wealth is something that Libro has committed itself too.
    • How do you go about that particularly in communities that are smaller where economies of scale for certain economic activities or population density don’t exist?
    • What does that return on investment look like on the wealth building that you are trying to achieve?
    • What are some of those measures, successes or goals that might be hard to see from the outside that Libro looks for in measuring it’s success in this space?
  • One of the themes that I have heard from some of the smaller communities is the struggle to keep institutions and small businesses open. You have had to close branches previously, it is a part of doing business. W hat role does Libro have in keeping small towns viable and how does that hold up against the reality of doing business?
  • One of the narratives that has emerged from almost every politician and community member I have spoken too is the issue of housing affordability in SW Ontario.
    • As a financial institution, you can’t give bad loans. At the same time, I assume you are seeing your owner trying to save up for houses, and being blown out of the water with housing prices rising 30% in a year and houses are going $100,000 over asking price. How do you reconcile that?
  • Thinking about recovery either later 2021 or 2022, all of the big banks have weighed on what priorities should be during recovery, do you have any thoughts on what the priorities should be for recovery both at a provincial or national level.
    • What about locally? Municipalities are challenged by scope of powers, but they are relied upon more directly by people.
  • I ask everyone this question but if there was a magic policy wand that you could wave. What would be that policy (Local, Provincial or Federal) that you would want to see enacted?

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