Frequently Asked Questions
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
Daily interest savings
Line of credit reverse
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 experience.
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 banks.