WESTBROOK, Maine (8/26/14)--Maine Credit Union League President John Murphy participated in a symposium on cooperation and cooperatives organized in conjunction with the World Acadian Congress, held Aug. 8-24.
Maine Credit Union League President John Murphy shared the benefits of credit union cooperation during a symposium at the World Acadian Congress. (Maine Credit Union League Photo)
The symposium, held in Degelis, Quebec, was also attended by Dave Desjardins, president/CEO of Acadia FCU, Fort Kent, Maine, with $10 million in assets, and league board member Luis Sanclemente, vice president, Acadia FCU (Weekly Update
The World Acadian Congress took place Aroostook County, Maine; Quebec and New Brunswick, Canada. The league sponsored the event.
The symposium brought together community stakeholders, including member of Canada's Parliament, to share the experiences of organizations that have chosen the cooperative business model.
In his remarks, Murphy discussed how the cooperative structure and principles have enabled the success of Maine's credit unions, beginning when the first credit union was formed in Maine in 1921. Maine credit unions have 641,000 members.
Murphy described how cooperation has helped Maine credit unions serve members through the SURF Network, the largest surcharge-free ATM network in Maine, and the shared branch network, which has nearly three times as many branches than any single bank in Maine.
"Cooperation gives Maine credit unions the strength and ability to compete and grow in the marketplace," Murphy said.
He also noted the strong ties that Maine credit unions have to the French-Canadian and Acadian heritage. "Many immigrants came to Maine from Canada and, because they only spoke French, were often turned away from traditional financial institutions purely for that reason," he explained. "Many credit unions have their roots in those beginnings, especially in communities such as Lewiston, Waterville, Biddeford, Madawaska and Fort Kent."