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.

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