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Westminster Savings Credit Union reminds families to seek B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant for their young children

New Westminster, B.C. – June 1, 2016 - On International Children's Day, June 1, Westminster Savings Credit Union (Westminster Savings) encourages parents to take advantage of a key program that can help the financial and educational well-being of their young children: the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG).

The $1,200 government grant was launched last August and Westminster Savings was one of the first financial institutions to provide access to the grants. Since September, the families of more than 3,200 children have chosen to benefit from the program by opening BCTESG accounts at B.C. credit unions, putting $3.8 million into education accounts for their children.

The grant is a one-time provincial incentive available to children born after 2006 when they turn six years old, and must be used for post-secondary education or training. Parents may apply any time before their child's ninth birthday. This year 80,000 children across the province are, or will become, eligible to receive the $1,200 grant from the province.

Since this is a new program, if a child had their sixth birthday in 2013, 2014 or 2015, families can get an extension until August 14, 2018 or the day before their ninth birthday, whichever is later, to get the grant. "This grant is a great start for families saving for their children's education, and we're thrilled to provide our customers and members access to this grant," says Gavin Toy, President and CEO of Westminster Savings. Since the BCTESG program was launched last August, 79 members have registered at Westminster Savings for the $1,200 grant.

In one instance, a member of Westminster Savings received the grant for his children and saved money when he moved his children's RESPs from a private financial institution to Westminster Savings. The private financial institution charged fees on the savings plans and restricted the number of beneficiaries. When the member's personal account manager at Westminster Savings informed him of the advantages of holding an RESP with the credit union – including the ability to apply for the grant through the credit union – the member moved the RESPs over to Westminster Savings to a new family RESP account.

Parents can apply for the grant at any of Westminster Savings 12 branches. Parents don't need to contribute to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) to receive this grant, but they need to open an RESP before the child turns nine.

In order to enroll, both the child and a parent (or guardian) must be residents of B.C. and have valid social insurance numbers.

If approved, the $1,200 grant will be deposited directly into an RESP once the application has been processed by the Employment and Social Development Canada. The money will arrive within about six to eight weeks after the application is made.

Once the child is enrolled in full-time or part-time studies at a qualifying post-secondary educational program, the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant can be withdrawn from the RESP.

More information is available at a Westminster Savings branch, or www.canlearn.ca.

About Westminster Savings Credit Union

At $3.4 billion in assets under management, more than 55,000 members and 400 employees, Westminster Savings is among the largest credit unions in Canada. Known for its customer and community focus, people oriented culture, and sound financial and operating practices, Westminster Savings provides a full range of retail, commercial, leasing and wealth management solutions to meet its customers' evolving needs.

For more information, please contact:

Diane Alfredson
Regional Director, Consumer Operations