Community News

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Manitoba credit union movement celebrates 75 years

In addition to be the International Year of Co-operatives, 2012 is also a special year because it marks the 75th anniversary of the credit union movement in Manitoba.

The first financial co-operative in Manitoba was organized in 1937 by Father Arthur Benoit in the French farming community of St. Malo. Its citizens, like most farmers on the continent, were suffering during the Great Depression; Father Benoit brought them together to help each other financially. The first loan to a member—for $56.50, repaid in $2 monthly installments—financed the purchase of a cream separator.

Several months later, 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. North Winnipeg Credit Union was founded in 1943 by 15 members with total assets of $133.25.

Today the credit union movement in Manitoba is stronger than ever. Thanks to members like you, there are now 41 credit unions in the province, serving more than 580,000 members from 189 locations. The combined assets of the Manitoba credit union system now stand at nearly $19.2 billion.

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