Growing a financial community in Winnipeg’s North End

By  on December 21, 2018

Determination, hard work and partnerships have contributed to the revival of a neighbourhood that is steeped in history and pride.

Assiniboine Credit Union’s North End branch at 360 McGregor Street opened nearly seven years ago in January 2012. At that time, mainstream banks had all but abandoned the neighbourhood — leaving fringe financial services like cheque-cashing and payday loan outlets as the only options for many.

In the lead-up to the opening, ACU, along with the North End Community Renewal Corporation (NECRC)SEED Winnipeg and other organizations, set up the Community Financial Access Centre to better understand the neighbourhood’s needs.

Citizens’ Bridge, which is part of NECRC, helps people acquire birth certificates so they can open accounts.

“We work closely with ACU,” said Eva-Marie Stewart of Citizens’ Bridge. “When people are finding employment, many employers won’t take them on if they don’t have a bank account.”

“We’ve worked with people up to two years trying to acquire birth certificates through Vital Statistics,” Stewart said. “Accessing a bank account is magical for some people. Some go decades without one and live with all the hardship that goes with that.”

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Growing a financial community in Winnipeg’s North End