By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Customers walking into Servus Credit Union Thursday morning might have thought the cake laying on a table waiting to be cut was just another of the many mini celebrations local business frequently have for their staff or customers. But the slab of frosted desert lying before them represented seven decades of serving the financial needs of Morinville residents.
Servus Credit Union marked its 70th anniversary Oct. 21 in a celebratory way with cake, speeches and a display of seven decades of the financial institution’s history.
Branch Manager Kevin Wunsch, who has been with the credit union for the past eight years, said the Morinville branch started in 1940 as the Caisse Pupulaire de Morinville Savings & Credit Union Ltd. When the branch opened, the effects of the Great Depression were still being felt and Canada was involved in a war overseas. Money was tight and loans were hard to come by.
“In June of 1940, a fire destroyed much of our business downtown district,” Wunsch said. “After that, the financial times were so challenging the Town of Morinville actually went bankrupt.”
Wunsch said in the middle of all the challenges then facing Morinville, a group of local people got together to start the credit union.
“Their conclusion was, that was a great time to start a credit union,” Wunsch said, noting the decision to do so was right. “Not only our credit union leaders but our town leaders and community leaders found a way to not only meet those challenges head on, but also to move forward and to allow our credit union, our town and our community to grow and prosper.”
Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA, the Honourable Ken Kowalski spoke to the branch’s platinum anniversary during Thursday morning’s celebrations.
“Platinum is one of the most scarce minerals we have in the world,” Kowalski said. “It becomes a very unique one. I’m just delighted that in addition to this anniversary of this credit union in here, the Servus Credit Union last year was awarded a platinum award for being one of the best managed companies in Canada.”
Kowalski said the achievement was a considerable one given the company’s growth from modest means.
Servus Credit Union has more than 120 branches in the province with approximately 400,000 members.