Hubert Financial Review: An Online Bank that Aims to Make You Happy
For generations, Canada’s credit unions have served their local communities, by offering a range of financial products, generous savings rates, and a relentless focus on customer service.
However, with the advent of digital banking, more and more credit unions are broadening their scope and can now deliver their products to customers across Canada.
In this Hubert Financial Review, I’ll show you how a small Manitoba credit union aims to make you happy with high-interest rates and a surprisingly wide range of banking and investment products. I’ll take a closer look at what Hubert Financial offers and let you know how they compare to other top online banks. Ready? Let’s get started!
What Is Hubert Financial?
Hubert Financial is the online banking arm of Sunova Credit Union, a Manitoba-based financial institution with over $2 billion in assets and more than 45,000 members. Because Hubert is a digital bank, its products are available to Canadians in every province, except for Quebec.
Hubert offers their clients five types of savings accounts, term deposits (GICs), two rewards Mastercards, and access to robo-advisor investing through their partnership with VirtualWealth (more on that later.)
About Sunova Credit Union
Sunova Credit Union is Manitoba’s 6th largest credit union, with 14 branches located throughout the southeastern part of the province. Its roots can be traced back to the 1940s when a group of farmers formed what was then known as the Grassmere Tecumseh Credit Union.
In early 2021, Sunova Credit Union announced that they had entered merger discussions with two other Manitoba credit unions. The process is ongoing, with a merger planned for sometime in 2022. For now, both Sunova and Hubert Financial will continue to operate under their existing banners.
Hubert Financial Savings Accounts
Hubert Financial’s motto is “Happy Savings,” and their savings account interest rate may just make you smile. Currently set at 1.10%, it’s much better than what you will find at any of the Big Six banks and not far off the 1.25% offered by EQ Bank.
In addition to the regular, non-registered Happy Savings, you can open four other savings account types: TFSA, RRSP, RRIF, and a US Dollar account. The interest rate is the same for all savings accounts, except for the US Dollar account, currently paying 0.25% interest.
I should note that Hubert Financial Savings accounts are not designed for spending. While you can transfer money to and from designated accounts at other financial institutions, you cannot get an ATM card, which means no ATM withdrawals or in-store Interac debit purchases.
There are no fees to operate a savings account, with two exceptions: an incoming wire transfer fee (CAD 9.53 for Canadian wires and USD 12.36 for US wire transfers) and a $25 account inactivity fee when an account has not been used for more than six months.
Happy Savings Features
- No monthly fee
- No minimum balance requirement
- Non-registered, RRSP, RRIF, TFSA, US Dollar accounts available
- Transfer funds in or out of an approved external bank account
- Deposits are 100% guaranteed
- No ATM privileges
- 5-day hold on cheque deposits
How to Open a Hubert Financial Savings Account
Except for Quebec, you can open a Hubert Financial account anywhere in Canada. There are a few requirements you’ll have to meet, however:
- 18 years of age or older
- Have an existing account at another Canadian financial institution
- Valid SIN number and email address
New account holders will be required to pay $5 for a refundable credit union members share. For joint accounts, both account holders need to purchase individual shares.
You can open a Hubert Financial Savings account in 3 steps:
- Application: It takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete the application online. Once submitted, it’s forwarded to the account opening team for review.
- Review: Hubert reviews most applications within one business day. Once approved, they will ask you to pay the $5 membership fee.
- Confirmation: Your account will be activated once you’ve provided your direct deposit information (from your primary bank). Huber Financial will provide instructions on setting up online banking.
Hubert Financial Term Deposits
In true credit union fashion, Hubert Financial offers competitive interest rates on GICs, with 1 to 5-year terms available. Their 1-year term deposit is redeemable every quarter, while their 2 to 5-year terms are non-redeemable. A $1,000 minimum purchase is required, and deposits are 100% guaranteed by the Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba.
Here is a list of current term deposit interest rates, as of Nov. 22/2021:
You can hold a Hubert Term deposit in the following registrations: Non-registered, TFSA, RRSP, RRIF.
Hubert Financial Mastercards
Hubert Financial offers two different Mastercards: a no-fee cash back credit card with basic rewards and a premium Mastercard that offers enhanced rewards and other benefits for an annual fee. Let’s take a closer look at what each card offers:
Hubert Financial Cash Back Mastercard
The Hubert Financial Cash Back Mastercard is a rewards credit card with no fee. In addition to earning points that you can redeem for merchandise, gift cards, and travel, you get purchase protection, extended warranty coverage, and mobile device insurance – a solid value for a no-fee card.
- No annual fee
- Earn one reward point per $1 spent on all purchases
- Standard 19.90% purchase interest rate
- 21.90% cash advance interest rate
- Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty
- Flexible rewards program
- Mobile device insurance and Zero Liability protection
- Apply online or via the Hubert GO mobile app
Hubert Financial World Mastercard
For clients looking for enhanced travel benefits and the opportunity to maximize their rewards earning potential, the Hubert Financial World Mastercard is available for a $120 annual fee ($50 secondary card.) You get 2X rewards points for travel and gas purchases and spending done in foreign currencies.
While the card doesn’t measure up to competitor cards, like the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite (up to 4% cashback and 8 separate insurance coverages) or the Tangerine World Mastercard (2% cashback in up to 3 spending categories), it offers some nice perks and a
- $120 annual fee (additional card is $50)
- 19.90% purchase interest rate
- 21.90% cash advance interest rate
- Earn two rewards points per $1 spent on travel and gas and in foreign currencies
- Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Four complimentary airport lounge passes, via Loungekey
- Lost baggage protection
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Rental car collision insurance
- Emergency health coverage and accident protection
If you’re looking for something better than savings or GIC returns, there’s good news. Hubert Financial can offer their clients access to automated robo-investing through Sunova Credit Union’s partnership with VirtualWealth.
VirtualWealth is part of Aviso Wealth, jointly owned by the Credit Union Centrals, CUMIS, and Desjardins. Aviso provides investment products and services to credit unions across Canada and many other financial institutions.
Upon signing up, VirtualWealth will help you define your investment objectives using their online calculators. They’ll help you choose a portfolio that aligns with your investment time horizon and risk tolerance level.
Virtual Wealth Investments
VirtualWealth invests your money in low-cost ETF (exchange-traded fund) portfolios from well-known names such as iShares and Vanguard. According to VirtualWealth, the average blended MER (management expense ratio) of their ETF portfolios is less than 0.15%.
Hubert Financial Customer Service
Just because you’re dealing with a digital bank doesn’t mean you can’t get personal service. Hubert Financial offers customer support via phone (7 days/week), online chat, and email.
The Hubert Financial Support team is available Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM CST, and on weekends, between 8 AM and 4 PM CST: 1-855-4-HUBERT (1-855-448-2378).
Hubert offers a secure, real-time online chat during the same hours as their telephone support. From the website, simply click the “Let’s Chat” link on the bottom right, enter your name and email address along with the topic of the chat, and await a response from a Hubert representative.
If you don’t require immediate assistance, you can email the Hubert support team. According to their website, Hubert responds to email requests within 24 hours.
Is Hubert Financial Safe?
You can rest assured, knowing that your money is safe with Hubert Financial. They use (SSL) 256-bit encryption for their online banking platform, the same level of security that Canada’s major banks use. And their deposits are 100% guaranteed by the Deposits Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba.
Hubert Financial Pros and Cons
In comparing Hubert Financial to other online banks, there’s a lot to like.
- Generous interest on savings and term deposits
- No monthly fees, transaction fees, or minimum balance requirement
- Access to robo-advisor through VirtualWealth
- More products than many other online banks
- Backed by Sunova Credit Union
- The Deposit Guarantee Corporation of Manitoba protects deposits
- No ATM privileges
- Transfers take 3 to 5 business days
- Credit card rewards lag behind competitors
- Not available to residents of Quebec
Hubert Financial vs. vs. Outlook Financial vs. Tangerine
You may be wondering how Hubert Financial stacks up to other online banks. I decided to compare it to another credit-union-owned online bank, as well as Canada’s leading digital bank, Tangerine.
Hubert compares favourably to Outlook Financial, the digital banking arm of Manitoba-based Assiniboine Credit Union. Outlook’s product offering is limited to a high-interest savings account and 1 to 5-year term deposits. Unlike Hubert, Outlook Financial does not offer robo-advisor access, nor can you get a credit card. Also, at present, Hubert Financial’s GIC rates are superior to Outlook Financial.
Tangerine is Canada’s leading digital bank when it comes to product offerings. A division of Scotiabank, Tangerine customers benefit from access to Scotiabank’s massive ATM network.
Hubert Financial gets the edge over Tangerine when it comes to deposit interest rates. Their savings account rate of 1.10% is a full percent higher than Tangerine’s .10% standard savings rate, although Tangerine does offer an introductory rate of 2.00% for a limited time. Hubert Financial GIC rates are also higher, starting at 1.50% (1-year) and topping out at 2.20% (5-Year) vs. .60% and 1.90% for Tangerine, respectively.
Overall, Tangerine is the better choice for customers who are looking for a full digital banking relationship. In addition to a free chequing account with unlimited transactions, you can get a mortgage or home equity line of credit and access to Tangerine’s family of low-cost investment funds.
The Tangerine World Mastercard lets you choose up to 3 categories to earn 2% cashback, some travel benefits, all for no annual fee.
Final Thoughts on Hubert Financial
Hubert Financial surprises with its product offering, which extends beyond the typical high-interest savings and term deposits that most online banks are known for. I love the fact that customers can invest for the long term through VirtualWealth’s low-cost ETF portfolios. The credit cards are decent, but if you’re serious about maximizing rewards, you may want to look elsewhere.