Looking at Surrey for a Competitive Edge: Interview with Prospera Credit Union's Ed Michielsen

March 7, 2022

Below is a summary of our Surrey EconomIQ Insights Podcast, where our guest Ed Michielson, Vice President of Business Banking and Leasing with Prospera Credit Union, discusses the competitive edge that Surrey provides in business growth and relocation decisions.

About Ed & Prospera

  • Ed Michielsen moved from Alberta to BC 2010. He has 35 years of experience in financial services and 4 years with Prospera Credit Union.
  • Prospera Credit Union has 120,000 members and 70,000 employees. Their headquarters is in Surrey, BC and they have 26 locations throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and the BC Interior.
  • Their brand stands for local banking means more. Their sweet spot – value proposition – is that they are a local relationship manager that meets members in the office down the street and lives in their marketplace. All decisions are made locally. They are a good fit for someone who wants relationship service advice with competitive pricing and structures, as well as the knowledge to support.

Why They Chose Surrey City Centre as HQ

  • Their decision was based on supply and demand and being competitive. They needed to do the right thing for their members and employees.
  • When they focused on their members and employees, they decided on Surrey because it was the fastest growing city in the Lower Mainland with the most opportunities, as well as the competitive advantages of affordability and strong growth.
  • Additional benefits of Surrey included access to the SkyTrain for employees, its central location, it has enough land to grow, and its talent pool – Surrey has the highest immigration and migration to Canada in the area.
  • With growth seen in Surrey comes people who have new ideas, new capabilities and new capacities.
  • Prospera has staff members from Chilliwack, Hope and Agassiz to the Lower Mainland. Picking Surrey broadened their talent pool. For example, someone could live in Vancouver and still get out to Surrey via SkyTrain.
  • Surrey is an exciting place to be. New industries are forming, but also existing industries and services are strengthening.

Working From Home

  • Prospera has embraced working from home with technology, but there is still a need for face-to-face team meetings.
  • Their return to work policy first prioritizes the safety of members and employees and compliance to regulations. Some groups are working back in head office in Surrey now, but Prospera will not be mandating staff members come in 5 days a week. Requiring 1-2 days a week for collaboration and offering more flexibility has afforded their employees an improved lifestyle and has made Prospera a more attractive employer.

Business Growth in Surrey

  • Surrey’s economy is getting more diversified. Prospera is seeing growth in tech, professional practices, real estate development, retail and hospitality, and manufacturing. This continued growth is because of affordability for both businesses and employees.
  • Also seeing growth in the gig economy through home-based start-ups. Currently, these start-ups are mostly service providers. Prospera is using technology to help these people open an account and apply a loan in 15 minutes.
  • Prospera’s business banking grew by 21% last year, which is record growth for the credit union.

Hiring

  • Prospera’s growth translates to a need for highly educated and trained workforce, particularly on personal banking channels. They have entry to senior level job openings in branches and in their headquarters. The demand is especially high for business technology solutions project managers, as the tech sector is a big investment for them.
  • Interested people can find their job opportunities on LinkedIn.

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