Catholic origins of US Credit Unions…

Fascinating piece:

As more and more Americans have learned over the years, a good alternative to a bank is something called a credit union, a financial cooperative controlled by its members and operated on the principle of people helping people.

But what most people don’t realize is the Catholic origins of such arrangements in North America.

According to Nathan Schneider, a professor of media studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, the first credit union in the United States was St. Mary’s Bank in Manchester, New Hampshire. It was developed in 1908 with the help of Alphonse Desjardins, who built Quebec’s famous caisses populaires.

But in fact, Desjardins got the idea from a priest on Prince Edward Island, Fr. George-Antoine Belcourt. “Credit unions take many forms now, but their origins were specific,” Schneider wrote recently in America magazine. “According to Mr. Desjardins, ‘The caisse populaire is truly an organization of the parish.’”

The role of religion in money/banking is as central as one can imagine…

One Response to “Catholic origins of US Credit Unions…”

  1. Prabhu Guptara Says:

    In fact, credit unions in the USA go back to the beginnings of settlement in North America – i.e. to the early 1600s.

    These Credit Unions were almost all Protestant, as the settlement of the USA was almost exclusively Protestant.

    Roman Catholic immigration into the USA is mostly from 1845 onwards (there were a few “English” RCs earlier, but they were all wealthy, and certainly did not need the assistance of Credit Unions).

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