Credit unions and caisse populaires were formed in response to a growing need to provide alternative financial options. In a world where big business and conglomerates rule, credit unions, as part of the co-operative movement, are owned and directed by the people they serve – their members. At the basic level, credit unions provide day-to-day banking services with low or no fee options, as well as economical rates for borrowing and premium rates for saving.
Credit union members are considered shareholders who actively participate in setting the policies and decision-making through an elected board of directors all of whom are credit union members. All members have a voice in setting their credit union’s direction at the local level.
Guided by co-operative principals, credit unions are unique in how they conduct business and serve their members. Canadian credit unions are affiliated with a respected, worldwide co-operative movement and have a long history of reflecting the strength of their co-operative values in building stronger local communities as well as abroad.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives through a resolution, passed unanimously in 2009. Co-op spirit is exploding globally, but also here in Ontario.
It can be stated that this is the year for credit unions and caisse populaires. Those who believe in co-operative values, democratic ownership, ethical investments and support their local community can talk to a local credit union as this is the best way to help make a difference.
Did you know?
- There are close to 9,000 co-ops and credit unions across Canada, with more than 17 million members. Ontario alone has more than 1300 co-ops with 1.4 million members.
- Some of Canada’s best-known businesses are co-ops and credit unions. Some of these include: Mountain Equipment Co-op, Federated Co-operatives Limited, UFA Co-operative Limited, Co-op Atlantic, Gay Lea Foods, The Co-operators, Vancity, Agropur and Desjardins Group.
- The co-operative sector controls over $275 billion in assets.
- The world’s 300 largest co-operatives, nine of which are Canadian, have an aggregate turnover of $US 1.1 trillion, the size of the 10th largest economy in the world.
- According to the International Labour Organization, co-operatives provide more than 100 million jobs, more than all the world’s multinational corporations combined.
To learn more about how you can benefit from the credit union difference please contact the Education Credit Union online or call 519-623-2211.