Established 1949

In August 1949, nineteen local people with a little money and a lot of vision pooled their resources and joined together to apply for a credit union charter. Like many people today, they believed that the credit union philosophy of keeping local money in the local community made good financial sense. With this sense of community, Grand Forks District Savings Credit Union opened for business.

A credit union is a co-operative organization that provides products and services to its members. We offer chequing accounts, demand and term deposits, personal mortgage and business loans, and many other services offered by banks and brokers. We are owned and controlled by the very people who use our services – our members.

 Our customers are members; every member is a shareholder and each has an equal vote on the policies and in the selection of directors from among the membership.

Because of our close member ties (staff live and work in our communities and we are members, too!), we are very aware of the needs of our community. When opportunity allows, member deposits are kept working in the community, to the benefit of all. Our loan and mortgage policies are typically the most liberal in the community -- because we know and can relate to the challenges our members are facing and the goals they hope to achieve.

Today, we provide a full range of products and services to our members, giving back to our community, and strategically preparing to serve our membership in the future.

On January 1, 2023, we officially became a part of Gulf & Fraser*, and from now on, our trade name will be GFCU Savings, as of now GFCU Savings and Gulf & Fraser are trade names of Gulf & Fraser Fishermen’s Credit Union. We are pleased to announce that our members will have more services available to satisfy their banking needs. Now, like never before, our people-helping-people philosophy will thrive to build stronger, more caring, and resilient communities that we can all enjoy for generations to come. While it will take some time to integrate the banking system, we will strive to continue to offer an excellent banking service.

Why did we merge with Gulf & Fraser?

In short, to remain a viable financial services partner for you and our communities for many years to come. We are in a time of accelerating change, with the rapid advancement of innovative technologies; growing network infrastructure; and digitalization of most day-to-day services. In order to remain viable for future generations, we joined Gulf & Fraser to strengthen our offering to members and invest in building digital, mobile and branch infrastructure. As a part of Gulf & Fraser, we will be able to offer more support to our local communities and the Boundary region.

Who is Gulf & Fraser?

Gulf & Fraser’s story began in 1940 when a group of fishermen banded together to form a co-operative to provide essential banking services to fishing communities who had previously struggled to receive the services they needed from banks. Today, Gulf & Fraser continues to invest time, and resources into local communities, by making donations in the United Way of the Lower Mainland, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, the Centre for Child Development, and volunteering in the community.

To learn more about Gulf & Fraser, visit the gulfandfraser.com website.

*Gulf & Fraser is a trade name of Gulf and Fraser Fishermen’s Credit Union


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GFCU Milestones Expand/Collapse

1938: The government of British Columbia passed the Credit Union Act and the first credit union is formed soon after.

1949: With 19 members contributing $30 each, the Grand Forks and District Credit Union was granted its charter on August 22, 1949. The first offices were located in the Growers' Exchange building. Officers included Pete DeWilde, Wes Docksteader, Fred Popoff, Joe Watson, Carl Holm, Pete Trofimenkoff, George Chahley, Lorne Murray, Roma Donaldson, Ray Orser, and J.B. Markell.

1950: Within a year of incorporation, membership had grown to 50 and assets totalled over $4,000. A motion picture, "The People's Bank," was shown at the first annual meeting.

1951: At the annual meeting, the Credit Union decided to run a weekly ad (Mr. C.U. Banker) in the local newspaper. Grace Jackson became the first woman to hold a position as an officer of the Credit Union. To this day, gender has never been a consideration for Credit Union office.

1952: On November 20, the Credit Union opened its first permanent office, complete with telephone number 79.

1955: By April, assets surpassed $200,000 and the Credit Union started to look for new premises; on July 9, the new office was officially opened. It included two teller wickets, a manager's office, a boardroom, offices for the firm of Campbell, Imrie and Ackely, and a vault. Three days before Christmas, the Credit Union proudly announced that membership had hit the 1,000 mark.

1956: Management and staff included Fred E. Popoff, treasurer and general manager; teller Anne Zaitsoff; and bookkeeper/stenographer Olga Skrepnekoff.

1959: The Credit Union celebrated its 10th anniversary with news that assets had topped the million dollar mark.

1960: In April, the Credit Union purchased the Mudie block and the official opening of the newly remodelled premises, on October 21, drew more than 700 people for a tour of the building.

1963: A school savings club was organized in order to promote thrift among elementary and secondary school students.

1965: In February, Peter P. Podovinikoff took over the reins as manager of the Credit Union. Peter, former assistant manager of the Sunshine Valley Co-operative Society, was a Certified General Accountant and alderman of the City of Grand Forks. The annual meeting marked the retirement of President Cy Pennoyer who had served continuously since the formation of the Credit Union.

1968: The name was changed to Grand Forks District Savings Credit Union.

1969: Dividends jumped to 5% signifying the fifth consecutive yearly increase in dividend payments. In October, the Credit Union moved to new quarters once again.

1970: Cathy Manson joined the Credit Union as a part time teller.

1972: Fred E. Popoff, manager of the Credit Union from 1949 to 1964, died suddenly. The Credit Union had assets of $5.7 million with a membership of 4,247.

1975: Assets grew to $11.9 million and membership to 5,632. The Credit Union provided considerable support, both financially and with people power, for the inaugural baseball event which became renowned as the Grand Forks International Labour Day Baseball Tournament. Late in the year, Peter Podovinikoff resigned as General Manager to accept a position with Delta Credit Union.

1976: On January 2, Cathy Manson was appointed as Acting General Manager and Frank Makaoff as Acting Assistant General Manager. Immediately following the annual meeting, the appointments were made permanent. Mary Mathers was recognized for her 20 years of service with the company.

1980: Value of loans approved jumped 28% over the previous year despite record lending rates.

1983: In May, the Credit Union opened its new office across from City Hall. Assets were $38 million and membership exceeded 8,200. In March, Myrtle Bryant was the first woman to be elected to the Board of Directors.

1989: The Credit Union was renovated and a new ATM was intalled inside the building foyer. Members approved the introduction of Equity Shares. The Credit Union celebrated its 40th anniversary with assets of $55.4 million and $723,000 distributed back to members.

1990: Christmas Cash was introduced to encourage people to shop locally. The Credit Union issued interest free loans which borrowers could spend at participating merchants in Grand Forks.

1991: The MemberCard debit card was introduced by Credit Unions across B.C. Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) were also introduced.

1992: Interac direct payment technology was introduced and gained immediate acceptance. An ATM was installed at Christina Lake. A national family of mutual funds, called Ethical Funds, was launched. The Credit Union contribution of $5,000 put the Palliative Care Unit Campaign "over the top."

1994: MemberLink (telephone banking) was launched.

1997: A partnership with the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities was announced. A initial contribution of $25,000 was made.

1998: The Credit Union introduced Cash Back a program designed to return dividends/patronage to its members. The www.gfdscu.com website was launched and honoured as Business of the Month by the Chamber of Commerce.

2009: Cathy Manson retired as CEO. The Board hired Operations Manager, Kelly Thomas, as the next CEO.

2010: The Credit Union provided $30,000 to Community Futures Boundary to help launch the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. Another $30,000 was provided to Gallery 2 for the development and installation of the permanent Boundary heritage display.

2011: The Credit Union announced over $1 million in member dividends/patronage.

2012: The Credit Union provided a second contribution of $30,000 to the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce.

2013: The Credit Union partnered with Nelson & District Credit Union and East Kootenay Community Credit Union to form a wealth management subsidiary. Locally, the branch is known as GFCU MoneyWorks.

2014: The Credit Union celebrates its 65th anniversary. At the AGM, a $100,000 contribution brought the GFCU endowment contribution total over $500,000.

2016: GFCU Launches new brand style and look. Contributes $100,000 to the GFCU endowment and returns more than $400,000 to members in dividends.

2023: On January 1, GFCU officially became a part of Gulf & Fraser*

Grand Forks Credit Union Early Years
Grand Forks Credit Union Early Years
Grand Forks Credit Union Early Years