WOCCU Makes Pilgrimage to Rochdale, Home of Cooperative Founders
Madison, WI—During their March visit to the
World Council of Credit Unions' Chairman, L. R.
(Bobby) McVeigh and WOCCU's President and CEO,
Arthur Arnold made a pilgrimage to Rochdale, home
of the first cooperative society. While in
Rochdale—which is in Lancaster County, England—
they took an extensive tour of the Rochdale
Pioneers Museum and also received a welcome from
the Lord Mayor, Mr. Sultan Ali, at town hall.
Accompanied by museum warden Dorothy Greaves
Mr. Malcolm Price, McVeigh and Arnold viewed
documents and pictures of the first-ever
cooperative society, founded in 1844 by 15
merchants in order to provide local workers with
affordable food. This original cooperative
inspired a number of mid-18th century co-
operative societies. These societies centered on
farmers and their communities, were bound by
common interests, led by volunteer officers and
were rooted in a philosophy of self-help. They
were the forerunners of the late 19th-century,
cooperative movement that spread to urban
Germany, resulting in the foundation of the first
true credit unions. Credit unions were soon
established on the other side of the Atlantic in
the early 1900's, first in Quebec, Canada and
later in the United States following the model
set by their European counterparts.
Following their museum visit, McVeigh, Arnold
the Lord Mayor, met with local leaders at town
hall where John Wilson, General Manager and
Members of the Board of the local credit union,
Streetcred in Rochdale, highlighted its upcoming
expansion. Since Rochdale is the birthplace of
the Co-operative movement, it is appropriate that
the first Metropolitan Borough wide Credit union
in the country should be set up there. Streetcred
Credit Union is a community based financial co-
operative controlled by a voluntary board of
directors and serves all who live or work within
the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.