When Vancity formed in 1946, our founders set out to do something different – something to help each other and their communities.

As a financial co-operative, we exist for the sole benefit of our members and their communities and, as a result, we act in their best interest. This often means taking risks and breaking norms. Even our founding members pushed the envelope of what was common practice among credit unions at the time.

Canadian credit unions were established in the early 20th century, emerging at a time when banks made it difficult for the average citizen to borrow or invest. In the early days most credit unions formed around a common bond, such as a workplace, trade, church or ethnic affiliation. This made sense given that the original idea behind credit unions was to lend money on the basis of character rather than wealth or property. The common-bond credit unions increased access to credit, but left out those who didn't belong to one of these groups.

Soon a few credit union activists began promoting the idea of an open or community-based credit union in Vancouver that would allow any resident of the city to join. Although it was a rather unorthodox idea at the time, supporters of the idea were passionate.

On September 28, 1946, 14 Vancouverites signed a charter to establish an open-bond credit union called Vancouver City Savings Credit Union. About two weeks later—October 11, 1946—the credit union became official.

Today Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, known simply as Vancity, is Canada's largest community credit union. .

click to view the original Vancity charter