Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What is in a name? Historical credit union names reflect changing times in Manitoba

Manitoba’s 31 credit unions are strong, sophisticated financial institutions that offer members a wide range of products and services. With thousands of members and solid asset bases, today’s credit unions are large enough to compete with the big banks and other financial institutions and are firmly entrenched in many of the province’s communities.
However, there was a time when many of Manitoba’s credit unions were extremely small organizations serving highly specific segments of the population. In 1953, for example, 68 per cent of credit unions had assets of less than $50,000 and fewer than 250 members. Most had a part-time or volunteer manager.
These fledging credit unions were the trailblazers for what is now a $27 billion system. While amalgamations have created larger, stable credit unions, the names of many of these early credit unions are a reflection of a different time in Manitoba. For example:
·        Commercial Telegraphers Credit Union was chartered in 1938. For Millennials who may not even know what a home phone is, the telegraph was invented in the 1830s as a means of sending information over long distances using electric currents and Morse Code.
·        Winnipeg Housewives Credit Union, chartered in 1948.
·        Aircrafters Credit Union was chartered in 1949, followed by Railwaymen's in 1950, both serving as reminders of Manitoba’s deep roots in those industries.
·        Continental Can Employees Credit Union, chartered in 1962. In the 1920s and 30s, the Continental Can Company, along with American Can, produced two-thirds of 10 million cans sold in the United States each year. Continental Can had facilities in several Canadian cities, including Winnipeg. Continental Can Employees Credit Union amalgamated with Assiniboine Credit Union in 1982.
·        Winnipeg General Hospital Employees Credit Union was founded in 1960 and was wound down in 1980. Winnipeg General Hospital, founded in 1872, became part of what is now the Health Sciences Centre.
You can learn more about the history of Manitoba’s credit unions by visiting https://creditunion.mb.ca/about-credit-unions-co-ops/credit-union-history/#more-920.

Concerned about debt? Watch for the warning signs

Mortgages. Lines of credit. Car loans. Credit cards. Student loans.
When it comes to debt, there is no shortage of ways to accrue it. Almost everyone will take on debt at some point in their lives — it’s what allows us to make major purchases like a home or a car, particularly when we’re just starting out.
But how much is too much? And how do you know where to draw the line?
Strictly speaking, the general rule of thumb is that the total of all your monthly debt payments, combined with the cost of utilities and taxes on your home, shouldn’t exceed 40 per cent of your monthly income before taxes. That’s what is commonly referred to as your Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR).
However, even your TDSR only tells part of the story. The real warning signs can be found in your day-to-day behaviour.
Here are some telltale signs that you need to think about reducing your debt load:
·        You struggle to pay your bills on time
·        You often resort to living off your line of credit
·        You routinely spend more than you earn each month
·        You aren’t able to pay your credit card bills in full
·        You’re losing sleep over money matters
If you recognize some of these warning signs, it may be time to take a closer look at your finances. Perhaps you need to rework your household budget or look at consolidating some debt.

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