Credit unions in Canada: A history (and present) of financial innovation

As we celebrate International Credit Union Day on October 19, 2023, we recognize the role credit unions play in helping people around the world realize their hopes, dreams and needs through people-first financial and lending services. As financial co-operatives, credit unions are owned by their members: the people who bank with them. That means members have a say, and their financial well-being are a credit union’s top priority.

In Canada, credit unions have been leaders and innovators throughout their more than 120-year history. They’ve been there for businesses, individuals and families living in communities big and small across the country.

Did You Know? Credit Union Innovations:

According to the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA), here are a few Canadian financial services firsts that demonstrate the rich history of innovation among Canada’s credit unions:

  • First financial institutions to lend to women in their own names (in the 1960s)
  • First to offer daily interest savings
  • First full-service ATMs
  • First fully functional online banking
  • First payroll deduction service for deposits and loan payments
  • First open mortgages
  • First home equity lines of credit
  • First debit card service.
  • First registered education plans.

Prairie Payments and Innovation

Prairie Payments is a joint venture among more than 50 Canadian Prairie Credit Unions, demonstrating again the credit union spirit and resolve for collaboration and innovation. We are working together to advance payments modernization across the credit union network, with innovations like real-time payments, open banking, ISO 20022 data compliancy and cutting-edge fraud management and cyber security. Visit our Products and Services page to learn more.