International Symposium On Cooperation Hears About Maine CU Success

August 28, 2014

John Murphy, President of the Maine Credit Union League, was recently part of a prestigious gathering of officials and representatives, including members of Canada’s Parliament, meeting at a Symposium On Cooperation held in conjunction with the World Acadian Congress. The event, held in Degelis, Quebec, brought together community stakeholders to share the experiences of small, medium and large companies that have chosen co-operative as a business model. 

As a major supporter of the World Acadian Congress 2014, along with several individual credit unions, the League was invited to be part of a panel that also included Monique Lerous of the Desjardins Group; and Camille Theriault, Mouvement des Caisses populaires acadiennes. 

In his remarks, Murphy discussed how the cooperative structure and principals have provided “a winning approach for Maine’s credit unions.  Credit unions have a strong and rich history in Maine beginning when the first credit union was formed in our state in 1921.  Through cooperation, credit unions have grown and prospered and now collectively have 641,000 members in Maine, the fifth strongest credit union state in terms of percentage of population in the country.  In addition, cooperation has allowed credit unions to come together to better serve members through services, such as 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 also noted the strong ties that Maine credit unions have to the French Canadien 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.  Many credit unions have their roots in those beginnings, especially in communities such as Lewiston, Waterville, Biddeford, Madawaska and Fort Kent.”

The Symposium was but one of hundreds of events and activities which took place at the World Acadian Congress, August 8-24, in Aroostook County, and parts of Quebec and New Brunswick.  FMI, visit