Lake View Credit Union

BC Co-op Membership Profile |
 

The Lake View Team at the Big Bike Ride Event.  Lake View also won the Team Spirit Event.

In the early 1940s after the Great Depression, the people in the Dawson Creek area of northern British Columbia (BC) were
suffering financially along with the rest of Canada.  The chartered
banks were running a tight ship, and credit was only available under
impossible conditions.

The economy was exhausted; the, "banks were not
lending money and homesteaders relied on moose meat and frozen
potatoes" (from the obituary of Garda Orr (Mortenson)).

As a result, a
group of co-operatively minded individuals formed together, conducted
research, formed study groups, and discussed the possibility of
incorporating a credit union in the area.

On
July 28th, 1943 a group of future credit union members collaborated
late in the evening at the Lake View schoolhouse. At the time twelve
members were required to form a credit union; the Lake View group only
had eleven. According to long term board member Dwain Clease," they met
to form the credit union and put up their six dollars. They put up
fifty cents a piece by 12 of them. In fact they didn’t have enough for
the twelfth so they went down the road and got Mrs. Golata, who was the
schoolteacher, to come up and join in her nightshirt almost. They got
her out of bed…to join and to add her fifty cents."

At the’ eleventh hour’ the original twelve charter members were Gunnar
Mortenson, Ben Miller, Wm. Conn, A.R. Crull, Hans Larson, Ralph
Lefferson, Bert Faulkner, Homer Stevenson, Ruby Stevenson, Arnold
Ebert, Harry Wood and Elizabeth Golata.

Lake View Credit Union (LVCU) received its charter and opened its doors
to the public in August 1943. The office for this fledgling financial
institution was originally located in the northeast corner of the
Dawson Creek Retail Co-op – consisting only of orange crates and a cash
box.

 
Canada Day Celebrations – Chetwynd

(Chetwynd Branch) – takes 1st Prize!!

Gunnar Mortenson, who was the credit union’s first general manager,
walked seven miles from his home to open the office every Saturday
afternoon.

As a result of his hard work and determination, the title of
LVCU’s chief pioneer is attributed to Mortenson. He handled all Lake
View’s borrowing and lending, and volunteered countless hours. After
three years of dedication to the credit union, on April 1,1946
Mortenson received his first paycheck for $150 as manager of Lake View.

The efforts of the credit union’s original members paid off. By
December 31,1943, only four months since it’s opening, the membership
had grown to 76 with a share capital of $2,114.

One year later in September 1944 the credit union had 141 members and a
share capital of $25,820. The growth "developed out of lending money on
a handshake…when you loan money to someone on a handshake, you
basically have put your value in the man’s handshake" (Dwain Clease,
2001). This approach allowed Lake View Credit Union to grow quickly. In
its formative years LVCU had the distinction of being one of the
fastest growing credit unions in British Columbia.