Community congress for economic change
Organization profile published 1983
Year Published: 1983
Resource Type: Organization
Cx Number: CX2798
The COMMUNITY CONGRESS FOR ECONOMIC CHANGE(CCEC) is a credit union whose purpose is "to support pragmatic alternatives to private capitalismo, such as co-ops, and to make credit available to those who really need it and can't get it (i.e., those on fixed incomes, single mothers, and other victims of discrimination.)"
CCEC developed in the mid-1970s in response to an on- going need for capital by several community- based groups in Vancouver interested in social and economic change.People were having trouble raising money to start projects like day care centres, or to make down payments on co-operatively purchased houses. Established lending institutions were reluctant to provide credit to community organizations, in part because of their small size and unconventional structures. Some community groups were in turn reluctant to patronize banks, whose investment policies violated their values or beliefs (e.g. the provision of investment capital to South African corporations). Instead, by pooling their individual savings, members of social action groups could ensure that the money would be used to support co-op organizations.
In 1974 the CCEC was incorporated as a non-profit society, whose purpose was to organize a credit union. Two years later this was in operation.
CCEC differs from most other credit unions in that it offers only a no-interest deposit plan. By not paying interest on deposits,CCEC can provide its members with loans far below market interest rates.Despite concern that it might have trouble attracting depositors, CCEC became the fastest growing credit union during its first four years of operation.
Membership in CCEC is open to any co-operative or self-help group, any group whose objectives fall within the philosophy of co-operativism, any individual member of such groups, or the family of any individual member of the credit union.A board of directors and an executive are elected from the membership.As well, there is an education committee, credit committee to scrutinize loan applications, and a long-range planning committee. The latter was established following an economic planning conference whose participants felt the time was ripe to develop long-term industrial strategies. The committee has identified a list of priorites, areas in which members of CONGRESS should concentrate their enterprise development efforts.
Such initiatives should:
- be oriented to the satisfaction of basic needs (food, shelter, clothing);
- be functioning co-operatives,with control shared among workers, consumers or clients,and the local community;
- be ecologically responsible;
-have ownership collectively distributed throughout the community, so that there is benefit to all;
- be financially sound.
CCEC'shope is to encourage the production of economic goods and services as well as consumption.
This abstract was published in the Connexions Digest in 1983.