Reinvent The Annual Report

Many credit unions are adding flair to their annual reports to intrigue members.


Thinking about financial institution’s annual reports, I imagine a thick stack of black-and-white pages muddled with numbers and graphs and dry performance language.

But many American and Canadian credit unions are reinventing the annual report.

Lakeland Credit Union, located in Alberta, Canada, created an interactive online version of its 2011 annual report, “Geared for the Future.” Throughout the light blue report, cartoon-like pipes and mechanical equipment intersect the print on the pages, creating visual intrigue. It’s as if you’re in a futuristic technology lab hearing spouts of steam and the beeps of computers. Lakeland has been creating creative annual reports for a few years, including its 2010 annual report, “A Field Guide for Change,” which had the look and feel of an adventurer’s travel log.

Lakeland’s 2011 annual report won an Achievement in Marketing Excellence (AIME) award from the Marketing Association for Credit Unions.

Assiniboine Credit Union in Winnipeg, Manitoba, also won an AIME award this year for its colorful Spring 2011 member newsletter, Asterisk. The cooperative has published 17 issues of the newsletter since its inception in early 2007. The newsletter not only looks great with eye-catching graphics and modern layouts, but it also focuses on the community and financial education.

Many other Canadian credit unions were honored for marketing strategies and designs at the 2012 Strategic Marketing Conference.

The conference also honored credit unions in the States for member-friendly annual reports. An award went to Bossier Federal Credit Union ($110.3M, Bossier City, LA), which created a short-but-sweet video annual report, with interesting movement to make the data more appealing. Bossier worked with PTP New Media in 2011 to create the engaging video report that lasts longer than a few pieces of fancy paper.

The conference recognized XCeed Federal Credit Union ($751M, El Segundo, CA) for its 2010 annual report, “Xpanding Horizons.” Online the report has a range of shapes — the cover page, a long, thin horizontal rectangle that depicts a sailboat floating in turquoise waters. 

 The theme of the publication is pushing boundaries and exploring unchartered territory — a relevant theme for the new cooperative movement that is pushing forward in the United States. Each page has colorful photos and opaque arrows that lead the eye across the page and lead the reader through the report.

These credit unions saw the importance of annual reports, especially with members. Members want to stay informed on the economic outlook of the country, industry, and cooperative financial institutions they use. By putting annual reports online, members interact with the document while credit unions save money. But keeping members engaged means thinking creatively and acting dynamically, as these credit unions have done.