The roots of Casera Credit Union stretch all

the way back to CN’s Transcona Shops. There, in the early months of 1951, a group of ten tradesmen met one day at lunch in the boiler shop. What brought them together was a shared notion of forming an employee-managed credit union to give young, post-war families a better opportunity to save money and acquire loans.

After investing $5 each, Walter Alam, Harry Brown, Charles Burkett, Robert Davison, Arthur Everton, Eric Hansen, Thomas Herling, Walter Keen, Peter Mathewson and Michael Tomkiw became founding members of Transcona Credit Union (T CU), which was incorporated on February 19, 1951. In its first year of operation, the fledgling credit union served three hundred and seventeen CN workers and their families. By the end of 1951, the credit union’s assets totaled $5,168, an amount that signaled not only a successful start but a hopeful future as well.

“According to our archives, TCU literally operated out of the back pockets of its board of directors in that first year,” explains Dave Abel, who has served as the credit union’s president since 1995. “When it became harder to conduct

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business during lunch hours in the shops, the credit union operated out of a small trailer just north of the CN’s main gate.”

Success Through Innovation

In 1954, T CU opened an office at 208 Bond Street and stayed there until 1960, when it built a new facility down the street at 108 Bond. When the organization outgrew that space, a new building was erected in 1977 at 1300 Plessis Road. A second location was added in 1994 at 8—630 Kildare Avenue East and in 2006, the credit union opened a new branch at 720 St. Anne’s Road in south St. Vital. This expansion to a new market inspired the credit union to change its name to Casera to reflect the move beyond Transcona’s borders. Today, Casera

is thriving with eleven thousand members

and $250 million in assets. According to Brent Thomas, Casera’s chief executive officer,

T CU’s location at 108 Bond Street was opened in 1960

Casera’s longevity, growth and ongoing success is the result of the organization’s willingness and ability to innovate.

“Our credit union has a long history of industry firsts, including installing Manitoba’s first walk-up teller for off—hours service in 1970, pioneering Drive—Thru AT Ms at credit unions in 1995, and in 2009 we were the first credit union in the province to offer mobile banking,” Thomas states.

Community Commitment

While Casera has evolved over the years, a vital part of its original vision has remained constant a deep commitment to the neighbourhoods it does business in. Whether it’s supporting

the Transcona Hi Neighbour Festival since

its inception in 1965, helping deve10p Buhler Recreation Park in south Transcona, or championing people with developmental disabilities by sponsoring the Casera Walk With L’Arche, Casera’s goal has always been to help enhance the community.

“Casera was founded on the shoulders of ten individuals who understood the value of cooperation and community,” remarks Thomas. “Their vision continues to inspire us to help families achieve their financial goals and to assist businesses and community organizations in their efforts to grow and prosper.”