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"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."
 


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 account.

Credit unions are regulated in accordance with the "Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act" of the provincial government.

Common Questions

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 experience.

Q. What are the benefits of joining a Credit Union? What is in it for me?

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.

 

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