The history of banking began nearly 4000 years ago in ancient Assyria and Babylonia, where the earliest prototypes of banks would loan grain to merchants that carried goods between cities. This practice evolved in Greco-Roman culture, where lenders who based their business in temples began accepting deposits and exchanging money.
Modern banking systems as we know them developed much later in Italy during medieval/renaissance times where some prominent families developed institutions dedicated entirely to banking and established multiple branches around Europe.
In the past few hundred years, the development of telecommunications has allowed the banking industry to become truly worldwide, facilitating transactions within and between nations that enhance our level of global connectivity.
The role of credit unions within this system is sometimes difficult to distinguish from banks because the two operate similarly, but there are some key differences. To join a credit union is to take on the role of a member/owner, and some of the profits of the organization are distributed back to its members. Because of this, credit unions generally offer lower rates on loans, credit cards, and mortgages than banks.
The drawbacks of a credit union is that it is generally less accessible than a bank; there’s usually fewer available branches, especially compared to banking institutions that operate branches all over the world. Also, not all credit unions offer the convenience of a bank card, so make sure you know both your needs as well as what’s available in the area before joining.
For more information related to local Victoria BC banks & credit unions, check out our member offers below.
David Vanderlee is the Canadian Defence Community Banking Manager and Mortgage Specialist at Victoria’s Bank of Montreal. With over sixteen years in the service, and five years in Victoria’s financial sector, David is uniquely qualified to serve clients looking for mortgage and financial advice that will fit their lifestyle.