Shared Stories

Shared Stories

A firsthand account of the economic aftermath of the Great Depression and rise of credit unions in Saskatchewan, Harold’s story reminds us of the importance of an organization designed to serve its members—not shareholders—and inspires us to continue providing a better, fairer alternative to banks. Learn more about Harold.

How credit unions took root in SK

In the 1930s, the Great Depression dealt a devastating blow to the Saskatchewan economy. Across the province, farm families struggled to survive the financial hardships brought on by years of drought and crop failures. Denied support from the banks when they needed it most, Saskatchewan communities turned to each other to find a better solution.

Inspired by other co-operatives in the province, like the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and Co-op Refinery,

historical pic of Wecan Credit Union concerned citizens and co-operative leaders brought the credit union model forward as a way to ease Saskatchewan’s economic woes. The movement quickly gained traction, and the Credit Union Act was passed in 1937.

Affinity Credit Union today

Affinity staff greets member

Today, Affinity Credit Union continues to protect the economic welfare of Saskatchewan people. We’re a co-operative, owned by and accountable to our members—improving the lives of our members and all those who live and work within the communities we serve is the cornerstone of everything we do.

Our hearts, business and profits live in Saskatchewan. We’re committed to creating permanent solutions to social, environmental and economic challenges in Saskatchewan. By turning local deposits into local loans for small businesses, mortgages, education and more, we serve as an economic engine fueling the province.

Harold Chapman, Affinity Credit Union member since 1955

Harry Chapman mug

Harold has dedicated his life to educating others on the co-operative model. He’s spent decades instructing others on establishing and efficiently managing co-operative organizations and designing adult education programs across Canada through his work with the Department of Co-operation and Co-operative Development, the Royal Commission on Agriculture and Rural Life, the Co-operative College of Canada and Federated Co-operatives Ltd.

Since his retirement in 1982, Harold has spent almost 40 years continuing to educate others on co-operatives. He published a book in 2012, Sharing My Life, which highlights his experiences and the history of the co-operative model.

In 2017, just in time for his personal centennial, Harold was awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of his lifetime of contributions to the co-operative movement.