You Told Us about Our Service: The Reports

21 February 2019

We are always glad to help when a client needs something, but our risk-based approach means that we spend less time with co-ops that are doing well. However, our annual package of reports is one service that goes to all clients.

Our 2018 Client Satisfaction Survey asked you to rank our reports from most to least useful in the operation of your co-op. The result was very interesting. Here’s what co-op managers thought.

Agency Reports Ranked by Value to Managers
1 Compliance Review Report
2 Risk Assessment Report
3 Co-op Data Report
4 Plain-Language Financials
5 Property Inspection Report

This makes sense to us. The Compliance Review Report alerts the manager if the co-op is not following its agreement with CMHC—a serious matter—and explains what needs to change. The Risk Assessment Report helps the co-op spot risks that might put its financial health in jeopardy. Both reports issue calls for action. The Co-op Data Report looks at the wider picture, showing how a particular co-op is performing, as compared with its peers. It needs thoughtful interpretation, because, for example, a large capital reserve can be a good thing or can show that the co-op has been putting off necessary capital work. For an experienced manager, the next two reports have less to offer. The Plain-Language Financials present information that is already available in the audited financial statements and the Property Inspection Report, based on a visual inspection, does not replace the building condition assessment.

Board members rated the reports quite differently.

Agency Reports Ranked by Value to Board Members
1 Risk Assessment Report
2 Property Inspection Report
3 Plain-Language Financials
4 Compliance Review Report
5 Co-op Data Report

Thinking like a board member, this order also makes sense. The Risk Assessment Report and Property Inspection Report can serve as a wake-up call for new directors not fully aware of the co-op’s situation. The Plain-Language Financials are more easily understood than the audited statements and can be shared with members, to the co-op’s benefit. The Compliance Review Report deals largely with administrative matters from the co‑op’s agreement with CMHC, which most co-ops respect and observe. Even when a co-op has breached its CMHC agreement, more often than not, the matter is a small one that the staff can readily correct, although the board needs to know about it. The Co-op Data Report demands careful reading and is important for planning, but does not speak in the same way as some of the other reports to the co‑op’s immediate issues.

Although we were disappointed to learn that up to a quarter of board members are not familiar with all five reports, there was good news here too.

All of our co-op clients at low and moderate risk found our Plain-Language Financials easy to understand and, at 97 per cent and 92 per cent, clients at above average risk and high risk were not far behind. Ninety per cent of board members consider their Risk Assessment Report useful or extremely useful. Among managers, 94 per cent are familiar with our Compliance Review Report.

While our reports received far fewer comments than the work of the relationship managers, most were positive. One co‑op manager observed,The reports generated by the AIR are extremely useful in changing the co-op's direction when necessary or confirming that we are on the right course.”

Vacancy Costs

The average co-op loses $132 a unit a year to empty units, down from $177 in 2007. Some of this loss is by choice, because units are being refreshed for new members.