CALGARY, Oct. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, Alberta's credit unions celebrate International Credit Union Day alongside credit unions in over 90 countries. This year's theme, "Members Matter Most" celebrates the key concept behind credit unions - its members.
Credit unions have a long history of community ownership and support. In North America, 10 cents was the first credit union deposit made in Levis, Quebec at the caisse populaire, originally called the people's bank and now known as the credit union. At the end of its first six years, total assets had climbed to almost $50,000 from the original 10 cents. Today, Alberta's credit unions have much to celebrate as they continue to experience exceptional growth. Combined credit union assets in Alberta as of July 31, 2012, were $19.4 billion. As of October 31, 2011, Alberta's credit unions posted $135 million in profits before tax with members receiving more than $49 million in patronage and share dividends.
Alberta credit unions are not only trusted financial institutions for Albertans but are also active participants in local and international communities.
"Credit unions around the world have demonstrated their ability to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities," says Doug Horner, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance. "Here in Alberta, credit unions are a stable and trusted partner in the province's financial system, providing important financial services to Albertans in the communities where they live."
In 2011, credit unions across Canada contributed more than $41.4 million to communities through financial contributions, in-kind donations and volunteerism - an increase of over 10 per cent from the previous year, according to a recent Credit Union Community Involvement Survey.
"The credit union difference has always been defined by the belief in the co-operative principle of "people helping people", said Graham Wetter, president and chief executive officer of Alberta Central, the central financial facility and trade association for the Alberta credit union system. "This year's international credit union day theme really summarizes it - credit unions exist to meet their members' needs, be it on an individual and/or community level. It's a simple concept, but truly reflective of our reason for being."
Credit unions in every part of the world celebrate International Credit Union Day with open houses, contests and other special events. To celebrate this year, Alberta Central initiated 1-2-3 Educate - a program that allows employees from Alberta Central and member credit unions to support local education by donating supplies to community schools or groups that focus on youth.
Alberta's 34 credit unions serve more than 650,000 Albertans from across the province. With 205 branches, credit unions offer Albertans access to one of the largest banking networks in the province. One out of six Albertans are credit union members and approximately 3,500 Albertans are employed full-time by credit unions and their affiliates.
SOURCE: Credit Union Central Alberta Limited
For further information:
Alexandra Frison, Manager, Communications