Credit unions have been serving Canadians since 1900. That was the
year Alphonse Desjardins founded the first Caisse Populaire in
Lewis, Quebec. Credit Unions began as an alternative to commercially
centralized, largely inaccessible banking system. Today, they still
occupy a unique place in the Canadian financial services industry.
In a credit union, policies and procedures are set and monitored by
a volunteer board of elected directors. The day-to-day operations
are the responsibility of the General Manager. The democratic
structure of credit unions is what makes them unique. Each credit
union member has one vote and an equal voice in the management and
direction of a credit union. Credit unions in Canada co-operate as
part of a three-tier system - local, provincial and national.
Credit unions differ from banks and trust companies in that their
members democratically run them, whereas at a bank or trust company
you are only a customer. The primary reason for the existence of
credit unions is to serve their members’ financial needs, whereas
banks and trust companies exist to earn dividends for shareholders.
Credit unions are among the soundest financial institutions in
Canada. The Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario insures
Canadian currency deposits repayable no later than five years from
the date of deposit, including interest, to a maximum of $100,000
per individual; and insures each separate RRSP/RRIF/OHOSP contract
and each unique trust or joint account to a maximum of $100,000 per
Credit unions are regulated in accordance with the "Credit Unions
and Caisses Populaires Act" of the provincial government.
Q. Can anyone join a Credit Union?
Yes, currently over 1.6 million Ontarians belong to a credit union
or caisse populaire. A common bond of association - such as where
they live or work, their profession, their religion or ethnic
background, unites the members of a credit union.
Q. How do Credit Unions serve their communities?
Through significant contribution in the area of community economic
development, sponsorship of community events, education programs,
bursaries and special projects.
Q. What does the Hands and Globe logo represent?
The Hands and Globe logo has symbolic and historic significance for
the credit union movement. The cupped hands symbolize both the
financial security and support offered by the International Credit
Union network, as well as the fact that the success of the movement
is in the hands of its members.
The globe symbolizes the worldwide scope of the movement and
suggests the impact that a truly united movement can have on the
financial development of all countries. The people within the globe
represent the real focus of the credit union movement. It is the
human element - the harmony of people working for people - that
distinguishes credit unions from other financial institutions.
The Hands and Globe became the official World Council of Credit
Unions trademark in 1966, and today it is the recognized credit
union symbol in more than 70 countries around the world.
Q. What are some Credit Union innovations?
We were the
first to introduce:
- Consumer loans
- Daily interest savings
- Automated banking machines
- Flexible mortgage payments
- Line of credit reverse mortgage
- Payroll deductions
Q. When was the first Credit Union founded?
It started in 1900 in Quebec by Alphonse Desjardins. The first
deposit was a dime, and on the first day of business, deposits
totaled $26.40. Ontario consumers searching for flexible, innovative
financial services, delivered with a personal touch, need only look
as far as their community credit union. Credit Union membership is
available to everyone - just be prepared for a truly unique banking
Q. What are the benefits of joining a Credit Union? What is in it
At your Credit Union, you are not just a customer, you are a member.
Credit unions take pride in providing their members with friendly
and responsive service. Credit unions offer a full package of
financial products and services. Credit unions reinvest their
deposits and profits in their associated community. Service charges
at credit unions are comparable to or sometimes lower than those at