Changes in store for Oikocredit's Canadian operations

Changes in store for Oikocredit's Canadian operations

Eugene headshot in office sept 2016.JPG

Eugene Ellmen, National Director, Canada & US

July 20 | 2018

Eugene Ellmen, National Director for Canada & US, explains changes about to be made to Oikocredit's activities in Canada.

In the last year, Oikocredit has conducted a thorough-going review of our strategy. We found that in spite of our successes in building a €1 billion organization we have been trying to do too many things in too many markets. We need to focus our activities on the markets and sectors that we know best, and concentrate our efforts to make the organization as efficient as possible.

On the outflow side of the organization, this means that we have closed some of our country and regional offices to focus our activities on regions that show the greatest promise to achieve our mission, which is to deliver maximum social impact for the low-income people we serve.

As part of this strategy, Oikocredit will also focus its activities in its inflow countries. As a result, Oikocredit will close the National Support Office (NSO) for Canada & US, effective December 31, 2018, while maintaining its investment offering and investment partner relationships in Canada.

Oikocredit will continue its inflow partnerships with credit unions, as well as its agreement with Deetken Impact, the exempt market dealer for the accredited investor offering of the Oikocredit International Share Foundation. Leonard Sprik, Deputy Director of Investor Relations, will be responsible for managing these relationships. Brigid McQuaid, our Toronto-based administrator, will continue to manage the accounts of our Canadian investors.

The Oikocredit Canada and Oikocredit Canada Atlantic Support Associations are not directly affected by this announcement, and will continue their awareness and outreach activities. They are also pursuing new activities related to fundraising and partnership-building so that Oikocredit can become a catalyst for social impact.

What this means for me personally is that I will be following through with a planned retirement at the beginning of next year. I’m proud of what we have accomplished at Oikocredit in Canada, doubling our Canadian assets in the five years I have been here, creating new partnerships with the credit union system, and establishing an investment offering that can continue into the future.

The closure will enable Oikocredit to continue its important work in Canada, but on a more cost-effective basis, ensuring its long-term sustainability.

Thos Gieskes, Oikocredit’s Managing Director, has summarized our new strategy this way: “Our ambition is clear. We want to focus on improving the lives of low-income people in areas where need and opportunity are greatest. We want to maximize our social impact while safeguarding the environment and generating fair financial returns. We want to lead in positive change, to be the preferred social investor and development partner for our partner organizations. We want to offer our investors the chance to be part of a global movement for social change.”

In the next six months, we at Oikocredit will be working hard to make the transition to new management as seamless as possible for you, our Canadian investors, members, partners and networks. We’ll continue to update you on our transition plans through the summer and fall.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like further information, don’t hesitate to contact me directly at 416.996.2392 or by email at

Warm regards,

Eugene Ellmen

National Director, Canada & US, Oikocredit

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