Extract of the interview with Ms. Andrea Harris, Manager Community Investment at VANCITY, Vancouver, met by the Project’s Team on March 11th, 2013
When Vancity was created in 1946, the founders chose to incorporate as a credit union in order to enshrine the organization’s commitment to community. “Vancity is a credit union, which is a member-owned financial co-operative. As a financial co-operative, we exist for the sole benefit of our members and their communities. We believe that we can only prosper as individuals if we are connected to a healthy, sustainable community. That’s why we help members meet their financial goals in a way that also strengthens their community” she explained to us. The Board is elected by the people who use the financial services (i.e. members) of the Credit Union. Around 70% of the activity deals with lending for individuals, the other 30% with lending for companies. This mandate is very different from banks who are publically traded companies and driven to maximize their profits and returns to shareholders, who may or may not use the services of the bank itself.
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