The Servus Story


Our story starts back in September 1938 on the heels of the Great Depression, at a time when many Albertans felt abandoned by the big Canadian banks.

Together, they worked to take back control of their money and make sure people like them had access to the financial help they needed.

Our story begins way back in 1938

Our circle was small. It was made up of a few gutsy, independent thinkers who came together to form Alberta’s first credit unions.

1938
1938

Alberta’s first credit unions

Mangan Credit Union of Edmonton is granted Charter #1 under the Alberta Credit Union Act. Mangan is founded by members of St. Alphonsus parish in Edmonton, with support from rector Fr. Thomas Mangan, CSsR. The application has 11 subscribers for 22 shares at $5 each, and $14.25 is collected at the organizing meeting.

On the same date, Edmonton Civil Service Credit Union is granted Charter #2. The era of Alberta credit unions and the Servus story begins.

1938
Inglewood Credit Union with Robert Dredge
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1938

Inglewood opens in Calgary

Inglewood Credit Union in Calgary receives Charter #4 on October 26, 1938.

View an extended version of the video about the creation of Inglewood Credit Union with Robert Dredge.

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1939
1939

Profit sharing begins

Edmonton Civil Service pays a 5% dividend on shares for 1939. The balance sheet for December 31, 1939 shows $41.30 available for distribution.

1939
1939

The foundation of the Servus name

La Paroisse Catholique de St. Paul Savings and Credit Union is formed May 4, 1939. Shares are $1 and the entrance fee is $.25. After several name changes and amalgamations over the years, it is renamed Servus Credit Union in 1995.

1940
1940

Board members carry the load

Members elected to the Board of Directors provide the heart, brains and labour behind newly formed credit unions. These unpaid volunteers perform all the operations—deposits and withdrawals, loan decisions, record keeping—needed to keep their credit union running. The Treasurer, the busiest role, was sometimes given a small honorarium if the credit union did well. Many of these men and women serve selflessly as directors for years, dedicating their lives to building credit unions that in turn help other members and their communities.

1941
1941

A world first

At a time when it is next to impossible for women to get a loan, High River Pioneer Credit Union of High River, Alberta becomes the world’s first all-women’s credit union on March 31, 1941. The primary requirements for a loan were that it be prudent, provident and productive.

1944
Building Alberta communities with Herb Der
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1944

The credit union movement comes to Red Deer

Red Deer Community Savings is granted charter #165 on November 16, 1944 with 18 members and deposits of $9.50.

1946
1946

Credit unions introduce chequing

Alberta credit unions officially introduce cheque services in 1948, but St. Albert Credit Union got an unofficial head start in 1946. Chequing expands rapidly, increasing deposits, members and helping to drive the switch to automation.

1948
1948

Grande Prairie's grand opening

The Grande Prairie and District Savings and Credit Union is formed April 19, 1948 to serve “any reputable person in the district.”

1954
The evolution of Medicine Hat credit unions with Murray Haubrich
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1954

Hat thrown into the ring

The Hatter Savings and Credit Union is founded in Medicine Hat March 8, 1954, eventually becoming Community Credit Union.

1955
The early days of Border with Joe Eddleston
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1955

A split decision

Border Credit Union gets its own Alberta charter June 3, 1955 to serve Alberta residents, splitting from Lloydminster Credit Union. The two credit unions continue to operate out of one building with two boards and one manager. In December 1958, the first credit union building is built with two teller windows, one marked Alberta and the other Saskatchewan.

1960
1960

The million dollar club

Inglewood Credit Union of Calgary reaches $1 million in assets.

1966
1966

Mangan moves

For the first 28 years the members of Mangan Credit Union conducted their business in the basement of St. Alphonsus Church on 118 Avenue in Edmonton. In 1966 they moved across the street to rented premises at 8404 - 118 Avenue, open part time. In 1970 they opened five days a week at 8403 - 118 Avenue with Treasurer - Manager Mrs. K. C. Dilley in charge. Assets were over $300,000.

1970
1970

Computers introduced

Belmont Credit union becomes the first credit union in Alberta on a computerized system, first on punch cards and later magnetic tape. Four years later the system is used by 22 credit unions.

1976
1976

The $100 million club

Edmonton Savings reaches $100 million in assets with over 34,000 members and becomes the largest credit union in the province.

1978
1978

Going automated

Alberta credit unions introduce ATMs, the first in many communities. They sprout up rapidly across the province.

1978
1978

Banking at any branch

By 1978, Edmonton Savings and Parkland install online computer systems that enable members to bank at any branch, also enabling growth of multi-branch operations and making mergers easier.

1983
Border pays $1 million in dividends with Joe Eddleston
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1983

Feels like a million bucks

Border Credit Union pays its members more than $1 million in dividends.

1983
1983

Debit card opens new doors

MasterCard II is introduced, the first debit card to give access to POS transactions at many merchants and to 75 Alberta credit union ATMs. The Mastercard II's wide access converted many to debit card use. Access to more ATM networks such as Interac soon followed.

1987
The formation of Capital City Savings with Harry Buddle
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1987

Eight become one

A government ordered merger of eight Edmonton credit unions forms Capital City Savings on May 15, 1987. The new credit union comprises 30 branches, $638.6 million in assets and $641.7 million in liabilities.

Watch an extended version of The formation of Capital City Savings video, with Harry Buddle.

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1989
1989

Automated telephone banking

Automated telephone banking is introduced, giving members account access from almost anywhere, anytime. First providing only balances, telephone banking soon expanded to bill payments and other useful functions.

1992
1992

1992

Ethical Funds are created for credit unions across Canada, giving members more access to mutual funds that are owned and managed by the cooperative system, an increasingly popular investment.

Member Cards are introduced, giving members wider access to ATMs and direct payments at merchant point of sale devices.

Capital City Savings and Parkland introduce employee incentive programs. Credit unions invest extensively in continuous employee training programs to improve service and keep pace with technology developments.

1996
1996

Dial up your modems

Parkland and Capital City Savings are the first credit unions in Alberta to get on the World Wide Web. Internet/online banking is introduced in 1997.

1998
Reaching $1 billion in assets with Harry Buddle
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1998

The big B word

Capital City Savings marks a huge milestone as they reach $1 billion in assets and over 100,000 members. Parkland follows soon after.

2000
Preserving the dream with Peter Galloway
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2000

Preserving the dream

Amalgamations increase as credit unions, facing increasing costs and regulatory requirements, seek partnerships that will provide their members with better financial services and preserve the cooperative principles. Parkland, Community, Border and Capital City Savings grow significantly through mergers.

2008
Growth, mergers and the big bang with William Anhorn
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2008

Start feeling good

Servus Credit Union is formed on November 1, 2008 when Community Savings, Common Wealth and Servus amalgamate, creating the first province-wide credit union in Canada. The new credit union boasts $9.5 billion in assets, more than 100 locations, over 2,000 employees and supports 35 community councils. In 2008, the three merging credit unions return a combined total of $33 million to members.

View an extended version of The path to preserving the dream with William Anhorn and Peter Galloway

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2009
The seven Servus values with Garth Warner
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2009

The seven Servus values

Servus employees, management and board take part in a comprehensive process, in which everyone is given an equal voice, and select seven values to help define the new credit union's culture. The process culminates in an all-employee event with the proclamation of our corporate values: Member Service, Integrity, Life/Work Balance, Community, Teamwork, Fairness and Investing in our People.

2010

A new vision

During the corporate values session we asked ourselves, “What’s the ideal credit union?” The answers help define our vision: Servus Credit Union builds a better world—one member at a time. This vision cements our purpose and reflects our commitment to creating value for our stakeholders and serving the needs of members and communities.

2011
Putting our communities first with Doug Hastings
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2011

Stepping up for our communities

As part of our longstanding commitment to give back to the communities we call home, Servus steps up in a big way to support members, employees and the community of Slave Lake after the fire of May 2011.

Servus offers credit deferrals, cash advances, help with insurance and many more measures to support members. Impacted employees are provided with every assistance and kept on full pay and benefits. Servus leads fundraising by employees, members and business partners. Servus later steps up with a major donation to help the town rebuild and partners with ATB to finance housing for critical medical professionals.

The commitment continues over the next decade in response to the southern Alberta floods (June 2013), Fort McMurray fire (May 2016) and COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020).

2014
2014

Digital banking expands

Servus introduces its first mobile banking app and e-transfers.

2020
Reaching $17 billion in assets with Garth Warner
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2020

Momentous new milestone

Servus reaches $17 billion in assets and is the best capitalized large credit union in Canada.

2021
Putting $17 billion in perspective, with John Lamb
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2021

We're in the people business

Servus continues to be owned by its members, for its members. Continuing a long tradition, the board ensures that the credit union provides value for members by honouring the cooperative principles it was founded on.

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