The Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union was formed after a meeting at the Salmon Arm Farmers’ Exchange. Those present were Bill Fell, Wilbur Minion, Jim Campbell, Ed Pike and A.A. Robinson. The purpose of the meeting was to create an alternative to local banking services.
Town legend has it that some farmers got together after they were denied a loan at the local bank. Someone contacted JW Burns, the Vancouver President of the British Columbia Credit Union league. He explained the benefits of a credit union and discussed the method of operation. The committee was familiar with the cooperative concept. They’d been involved with the Salmon Arm Farmers’ Exchange and the S.A.F.E. Ltd.
First board members elected in 1946 were H. Damgaard, President, M.R. McKay, Vice-President, and W.A. Minion, Secretary-Treasurer, and Directors W. Fell, J.C. Campbell, A.A. Robinson and P.E. Pike. Ed Pike had account number 1.
When Don Murchison replaced W.A. Minion as Secretary-Treasurer, Credit Union business was conducted from the former’s office in the hardware department of the Salmon Arm Farmers Exchange. In 1952 the office was moved to the Strudwick Block on Shuswap Ave. Eventually the Strudwick site became the School Board Office (220 Shuswap Ave. NE). A.A. Robinson took over the role of Secretary-Treasurer and held the position until 1959.
According to former employee Ellen Hammer, the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union built a small building on the Strudwick Block site in 1966, and moved into the space immediately. The organization demolished the adjacent buildings it owned on the block, added on to the 1966 structure and expanded into new space the following year. It stayed at that location until 1980. On August 23 the Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union relocated to a new building at 370 Lakeshore Dr. NE (Front St). A drive through teller was installed.
Mergers made the institution stronger. Tappen and District Credit Union merged with the Salmon Arm in June 1969 and Eagle River Credit Union in Sicamous merged in June, 1975.
According to Arvid G. Olson, one of the managers, the motto of the Credit Union is “People helping people”. Directors are elected by the membership and the head office is in Salmon Arm.