UNI Financial Cooperation, 87 years and ac-counting

Posted on October 27, 2023 | Atlantic Business Magazine | 0 Comments


The first office of the Fédération des Caisses populaire acadiennes (photo credit: Fidèle Thériault Collection)


An Acadian financial institution founded by and serving members across the province of New Brunswick, UNI Financial Cooperation is approaching 90 years in operation. What started with a single, small-town credit union has grown into a venerable institution with $5.4 billion in assets.

Early days

The beginning of UNI Financial Cooperation dates back to 1936 when the first Caisse populaire acadienne was founded in Petit-Rocher, New Brunswick. Years later, La Fédération des Caisses populaires acadiennes was established. A charter was signed by a group of French-speaking credit unions in the province and headquarters were based in Caraquet, New Brunswick.

In 1948, the société d’assurance des caisses populaires acadiennes was put in place, an insurance division that quickly issued its first policies. It now operates as UNI Insurance, a division of UNI Financial Cooperation.


UNI Financial’s location in Fredericton, N.B. (photo credit: Pat Richard, CBC)


Growing assets

The Caisse populaire acadienne group recorded its first $100 million in assets in 1975 and $1 billion in 1992. Following these major financial milestones, the organization continued to grow its membership and services over time.

In 2016, the group adopted the name UNI Financial Cooperation and became the first credit union in Canada to obtain a federal charter. Press releases from UNI Financial and the Government of Canada at the time explained that this change allowed the organization to modernize operations and take advantage of growth opportunities to better serve its 155,000 members. UNI Financial continued to support and service small and medium-sized businesses and residents across the province of New Brunswick, focusing on rural areas and smaller communities.


Camille H. Thériault served as CEO and President of UNI Financial from 2004-2016 and returned to the position in August of 2023 (photo credit: UNI Financial Cooperation)


Technical Difficulties

Following a period of innovation and growth after Robert Moreau became CEO in 2017, some challenges arose in July of 2023 with UNI’s online banking services. For years, the organization utilized Desjardins Group’s online banking program to provide digital banking services to its members. However, after UNI Financial launched its own platform, customers began experiencing a variety of issues, from being unable to access accounts online, to missed payroll deposits and defective bank cards.

According to CBC articles that reported on the incident, UNI Financial extended branch hours to address these issues. The company also provided updates throughout the transition. Despite those measures, weeks after the initial challenges, UNI announced that Moreau had stepped down and his predecessor, Camille Thériault, was reinstated as president and CEO. Based on a press release from September 27, it appears that the company is still working to perfect the transition to its new online banking platform. A representative from UNI Financial was unavailable for comment.


UNI Financial and its employees supporting their local community (photo credit: UNI Financial Cooperation)


Still for the people

Today, UNI Financial Cooperation maintains $5.4 billion dollars in assets and invests over $2 million in its local communities annually. Still headquartered in Caraquet, New Brunswick, the organization has about 1,000 employees among its 58 locations across the province.

Continuing to provide financial services, of its members and for its members, 87 years later.

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