Canada's Prospera Credit Union has launched a national direct banking business, Ubiquity Bank, in a bid to by-pass regulations that confine its operations within provincial borders.
Canada's Bank Act limits the British Columbia-based credit union to operating in a single provence, whilst banks are able to operate across the country.
Prospera, which is the fourth largest credit union in BC, with 60,000 members, was granted Letters patent in November 2003 to set up the virtual bank.
Ubiquity customers will be able to access their accounts over the Internet, by telephone, cheques and ATMs.
Keith Puiu, president and CEO, Ubiquity, says: "We created products, networks and processes to make it easy for consumers to manage their money."
As the operation will be primarily virtual, Ubiquity says it will have the flexibility to offer competitive rates on a range of banking products and services nationwide.
Within three years the bank plans to open a network of 'boutique branches' with coffee shops, Internet access and cash dispensers.