This post was written by the former Estonian Credit Union, now Northern Birch Credit Union.
Just 75 years ago, upon arrival in Canada and having given up everything, immigrants fleeing war ravaged Estonia were often unable to secure financial services from the mainstream banks. Like others before them, they banded together to found a credit union which provided mutual support and financial services to members of their community. Some already had Canadian professional designations, such as the founder Artur Ekbaum, accountant. Others, regardless of their previous professions signed the incorporation documents as labourers, cleaners, and foresters.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 11th 1954 the doors of the Estonian Credit Union officially opened when the newly elected officials arrived at the small meeting room of Vana Andrese Kirik (St. Andrew’s Church) on the corner of Jarvis and Carlton in downtown Toronto. By the end of its first month of operations, the credit union had accepted $5,329.30 in deposits and had granted 3 loans totalling $1,000. Beginning with a briefcase containing the credit union’s books, records, documents and cash balances, the Estonian Credit Union started its journey to where it is today.
On Monday, February 11th, 2019 the Estonian Credit Union is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Official First Day of Business. With over $146 million dollars in assets and close to 5,000 members, there is a lot to celebrate. We invite you to join us in branch throughout the day to enjoy a piece of cake or kringel, and to browse through old photographs.
To celebrate our senior members and to thank them for their loyalty, we will also be visiting Ehatare Retirement & Nursing Home and serving sweets at 2:00 pm on February 11th.
It is through the continued support of a strong and diverse community that the credit union has been able to grow and flourish. We thank our members, our current and previous board members, and our staff for leading the path to our 65th Anniversary.
We look forward to seeing you on February 11th and celebrating together!
Read more about our history here.