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From cash box to community cornerstone: 60 years of credit union

By Tom Atkins, Nelson and District Credit Union

It was 60 years ago today that the forerunner of the Nelson and District Credit Union had its beginning.

It was 1950 and the post-war economy was stable, consumer goods were filling the shelves, and a new fleet of buses had just replaced the clanging streetcars in Nelson’s downtown.

Meanwhile, a new idea in co-operative banking was taking hold: credit unions. In November of that year, 10 local residents signed an application to initiate the incorporation of Nelson Savings Credit Union on Nov. 16.

The credit union’s “office” was a metal cash box stored in a charter member’s kitchen on Silica Street and has evolved into a community cornerstone in Nelson, Rossland and on the East Shore.

“Credit unions have a history of providing an alternative to banks by advocating equality, equity and mutual self-help,” said Doug Stoddart, NDCU CEO.

“They are places where people work together to achieve a better life for themselves and their families, thereby creating strong communities.”

The Nelson and District Credit Union has grown over the years from a modest beginning to a robust community-based financial co-operative.

After the first year of operations, the cash-box had a net profit of $21.77. Today, the credit union stands strong with over $165 million in assets and $12.7 million in retained earnings.

In 2000 the Community Investment Program was formed and through it over $2.3 million has been given to local non-profit initiatives.

“As well, John McKinnon will be unveiling his fifth monument that NDCU has commissioned, located outside the Nelson branch, at 2 p.m. on Nov. 16,” Stoddart said. All members of the community are invited to join the celebration.

Nelson and District Credit Union is a community-based financial organization with assets over $165 million and three branches in Nelson, Rossland and on the East Shore.

For more information, visit http://www.nelsoncu.com/upload_publications/upload_2010-10-15.pdf.