September 26th

International Credit Union Day: Helping People

The credit union movement began 160 years ago in Levis, Quebec, with a simple but radical idea. That with the help of your neighbours, you can improve your financial well-being.

Back then, in the 1900s, ordinary working people had little access to the commercially centered banks. Organized locally, according to a co-operative model, credit unions provided Canadians urgently needed savings and lending services, at fair rates.

This idea spread across the world, and credit unions flourished, especially during times of economic hardship.

During the Great Depression, scores of ordinary Canadians—farmers, teachers, small business owners—found themselves without access to banking services, so they banded together to become their own financial institution. Credit unions opened in record numbers.

The first credit union in Manitoba was organized in 1937 by Father Benoit in the French farming community of St. Malo. Seven months later in the same year, Norwood Credit Union was founded in Winnipeg.

Following their example, people throughout Manitoba, drawn together through common ethnic, religious, professional or geographical affiliations, began founding credit unions in ever-increasing numbers. By 1939 there were 19 credit unions in Manitoba, with combined assets of $49,990 and 2,406 members.

From these humble beginnings, Manitoba credit unions have evolved over 78 years into modern, extremely competitive, successful financial institutions with a collective size of over $25 billion in assets, more than 190 branches and 3,500+ employees.

Even after all this time, the bedrock principles of credit unions remain unchanged.

Credit unions are still:

– People coming together to be their own bank, so no one can deny them a path to prosperity.

– People pooling their savings to provide each other affordable credit.

– People helping people.

To celebrate this powerful movement and our cooperative advantage, stop by any Sunrise Credit Union location on October 15, 2015.

 

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