Kindred Credit Union: A History of Making Peace with Your Money for 60 Years

3 minute read

On March 21, 1964, twenty-two Waterloo County Mennonites got together and deposited $22 in a cash box and our credit union was born!

Our founders’ radical vision was to see mutual aid put into faithful practice – individuals or groups bearing one another’s burdens, helping each other out in times of need and in times of plenty. As a financial cooperative, it’s our shared purpose and values as well as our heritage that make us who we are.

These beginnings continue to shape what we do and how we go about doing that together – through mutual aid, economic justice, and selfless service in our day-to-day financial lives.

A lot has changed since we launched on March 21, 1964, yet who we are has remained steadfast and woven into the fabric of our credit union. With variations of how we’ve expressed ourselves throughout the years, we have adapted and we continue to adapt, with our foundation remaining strong.

As part of our 60th Anniversary celebrations, we’re exploring and sharing stories from our past. Reflecting on our history, we will see how it continues to uniquely shape how we operate today as we live out our commitment to mutual aid through the products we offer, the services we provide, and the partners we engage with.

Learn more about what the original twenty-two Mennonites envisioned in part one of our blog series on Kindred’s history. In part two, we look at a name change and what those decades of growth brought to the credit union. The final part – part three – looks to our more recent past, another name change, and explores how we can help you Make Peace with Your Money.

Waterloo County Mennonite Credit Union

The original twenty-two Mennonites who got together with a cash box had purpose. They were actively looking for ways to take the lessons they learned on Sundays, applying their Anabaptist values to the practical ways they carried out business in the broader society. Those lessons were about following Jesus’ example of love, compassion, grace, community, sacrifice, and non-violence and to live them out during the rest of the week.

To do so, they purposefully chose the credit union model, a financial cooperative, to provide financial services that brought together those who could serve and those who were underserved. A cooperative is a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise that supports the common economic, social, and cultural needs of its members.

Alice Snyder and Irmgarde Miller were the first two workers at Waterloo County Mennonite Credit Union in March 1969, working out of the back of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) offices. While the credit union opened its charter province-wide in 1970, it wasn’t until September 22, 1972 that our membership expanded beyond Waterloo County!

Just shy of ten years, in October 1973, Waterloo County Mennonite Credit Union changed its name to Mennonite Credit Union (Ontario) Limited, later commonly abbreviated as MCU. An official Certificate of Amendment from 1973 reflected that membership was not limited to Waterloo County– but extended to all Ontarians.

By 1974, our assets grew to $10 million – a significant milestone to celebrate our tenth anniversary! The 1970s was a decade of quick, sweeping change for the credit union: the first full-time General Manager for the branch was hired, Robert Tjart, and computers were introduced in 1976 to calculate daily interest. Some of the first products and services were: chequing accounts and a daily interest savings account.

Not only had membership grown to 1,000 members in 1977, the credit union made its first expansion into Elmira. In November 1977, the Elmira branch opened, serving the greater Mennonite community – membership was still restricted to those within the Anabaptist faith.

To encourage additional growth, Mennonite Credit Union opened membership to include adherents of Mennonite churches and incorporated companies on July 18, 1978.

The 1970s ended on a high note for the credit union: in February 1979, the New Hamburg branch opened at 59 Huron Street, and recorded membership grew from 1,000 members to 2,000. Just as the 1970s was a time of change for the credit union, the 1980s would be as well – and in more ways than the original twenty-two founders might have imagined.

Learn more about the transition of the credit union into the 1980s in Part Two of Kindred Credit Union: A History of Making Peace with Your Money for 60 Years!


Kindred Credit Union

At Kindred, we believe you have a better choice for banking. We believe values and faith are central to life, and financial decisions are not values-neutral. In fact, we think financial decisions can impact the world in amazing ways—so our values are integrated into everything we do. We call this Banking with Purpose.

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