Co-operatives Mean Better Business
A co-operative is an association of people who voluntarily unite to meet their common economic, social or cultural needs. Co-operatives, or co-ops, exist in a wide range of categories including agriculture, insurance and even sporting goods (Mountain Equipment Co-op). The first cooperative financial institution in Canada was started by Alphonse Desjardins in Quebec in 1900. Co-operative banks, also called credit unions or caisse populaires (peoples banks), began because the large traditional banks would not service people in remote rural areas. The people of these communities pooled their money and created their own banks to assist each other with loans and savings. Today more than one third of Canadians belong to at least one credit union.