What Is the Caisse Populaires Acadiennes?

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The Caisses populaires acadiennes is the former name of UNI Financial Cooperation, a Canadian credit union serving the Acadia region of New Brunswick. UNI Financial Cooperation serves a largely French-speaking population but also provides services to English-speaking citizens.

UNI Financial Cooperation currently has assets totaling more than 3 billion Canadian dollars and a membership of more than 200,000 people, as reported by the UNI Financial Cooperation website. The credit union was established under the name Caisses populaires acadiennes as part of a popular cooperative movement among Acadians and Francophone residents of New Brunswick in the early-mid 20th century.

Part of the UNI Financial Cooperation’s mission is to support and respect Acadian culture in New Brunswick, and as part of this effort, the bank is a longtime sponsor of the Acadian Games. The company's CEO is Robert Moreau, the president of the New Brunswick Economic Council. Before serving as CEO of UNI Financial Cooperation, Moreau served as the Vice President of Corporate Services with UNI Financial since 2015.

The early 20th-century Acadian and Francophone financial movement in New Brunswick that led to the founding of the Caisses populaires acadiennes was motivated by widespread financial hardship suffered among that population during the Great Depression. Just prior to the Great Depression, the Acadian economy suffered a sharp downturn. This meant that the region was hit particularly hard by the Great Depression. When many banks collapsed and stopped lending money in the midst of the Depression, Acadians had few official channels to go through to get loans, and experienced widespread financial hardship.

The Antigonish movement, which was started by a group of priests from St-Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, began as a response to the poor economic climate of the Great Depression in the Acadian region. The movement’s values included an embrace of cooperative institutions such as credit unions. As a result, the Caisses populaires acadiennes, one of the first credit unions in New Brunswick, was established in 1946.