May 7, 2014 11:43 pm

WATCH: Head of Vancity credit union to advise the Vatican

The head of Vancity credit union will be heading to Rome this summer to give the Pope some economic advice.

Vancity’s president and CEO Tamara Vrooman will be joining 30 others to advise the Vatican’s pontifical council for justice and peace.

Though not a Catholic, she’s been invited to advise the pontifical council for justice and peace and Pope Francis, who has previously said economic inequality can plunge people into a “moral destitution” that could threaten their lives.

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She was invited because of Vancity’s track record of social responsibility.

Much of the profits made by Canada’s largest credit union are returned to members and the broader community.

Vrooman says because the credit union is a cooperative, their No.1 goal is to serve their members.

“We put their needs first, we put the needs of our community first, we put the needs of our planet first,” she says. “As the result they do better, and frankly we do better.”

Vrooman is a former B.C. deputy minister and believes the invite speaks to the values of her 68-year old credit union.

Her mission is to convince the Vatican that successful values based banking is possible.

“The very forces that have caused such trouble economically throughout the world can be forces that if connected in right way can be positive force for social change,” she says.

With files from Geoff Hastings

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