Credit Unions around the world make a difference in their communities. On October 20, 2016 we celebrated International Credit Union Day together.
It was a small group of weavers in Rochdale, England that created the first modern co-op, it was a small group of German innovations that created the first credit union in 1852, it was Alphonse Desjardins and allies in Levis, Quebec that created Canada’s first credit union in 1901, and it was Ed McCaffrey and seven friends that created Assiniboine Credit Union in 1943.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead
These leaders created a business model that transformed banking by putting people first. They believed that banking shouldn’t be about money making money, it should be about “People Helping People”.
Those early innovators were guided by clear principles of co-operation, which continue to guide credit unions today. They understood that a business model that was owned and democratically controlled by the users of the financial co-operative would ensure that the well-being of the members would be the top priority of the enterprise.
When you stop to think about the fact that all employees of the credit union are also members themselves, and the volunteer board is made up of members elected by the membership to govern the credit union, you can see how this unique model really is focused on People Helping People.
Perhaps they shared the passionate philosophy that I heard years ago from a co-operative leader—“Always get involved in something that cannot be accomplished by yourself, and always get involved in something that cannot be achieved in your lifetime.”
As generation after generation dedicated themselves to this collective, long-term vision of building a better world, the credit union movement has grown immensely. If you think about the 217 million members of 57,000 credit unions in over 100 countries, we are a huge global family— something to be very proud of.
Credit Unions Putting People First
Credit unions’ people-first focus has been recognized with many industry awards. According to a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), credit unions ranked first when it comes to financing the business needs of Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). At the 2016 Ipsos Best Banking Awards, credit unions were:
- First for Customer Service Excellence (12th consecutive year);
- First for Branch Service Excellence (12th consecutive year);
- First for Values My Business (9th consecutive year);
- Winner (tied) for Financial Planning and Advice (9th consecutive year);
- Winner (tied) for ATM Banking Excellence (2nd consecutive year);
- Winner (tied) for Online Banking Excellence (2nd consecutive year);
- Winner (tied) for Live Agent Telephone Banking (4th consecutive year); and
- Winner (tied) for Automated Telephone Banking Excellence (4th consecutive year).
Assiniboine Credit Union
Assiniboine Credit Union is a values-driven financial co-operative. It’s not just how we do business; it’s why we do business. It defines who we are and it helps us make a difference in the lives of thousands of Manitobans.
We Are People Helping People By:
- offering socially responsible investment opportunities to our members.
- operating where the banks won’t bank, like ACU’s branch in Winnipeg’s North End.
- offering access to banking services to those who are under-served.
- investing in local leaders who are creating solutions to some of the most complex challenges in our communities.
- reducing our environmental impact every year.
- being an inclusive and diverse place to work, and a recognized Top Employer.
- supporting our employees who volunteer for initiatives that make a difference, like Habitat and the LITE Pancake Breakfast, and raising money for low-income people who are building up their savings for essential things in life like education, simple furniture, a home, or starting a business. It was this work that led to Assiniboine Credit Union being awarded the 2015 National Credit Union Social Responsibility Award.
Thanks for Ceelebrating With Us!
On October 20th—International Credit Union Day—Assiniboine Credit Union joined with our global credit union family to celebrate our co-operative history and achievements, as well as the impactful role we play in our communities today. Thanks for celebrating with us!