Northern Savings Credit Union CEO Ken Doleman discusses his global work to spread the credit union philosophy.

Northern Savings looks internationally

Northern Savings may be based in Prince Rupert, but CEO Ken Doleman is helping spread the credit union message around the world.

Northern Savings Credit Union (NSCU) may be based in Prince Rupert, but CEO Ken Doleman is helping spread the credit union message around the world.

Speaking to the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 19, Doleman outlined the benefits of the cooperative model and how it can benefit the global community.

“We are part of a global community that we can invest in …. globally we are part of the largest financial movement in the world when you consider what is happening in the four corners of the world,” he said of NSCU’s membership in the Canadian Cooperative Association.

“Together we work on issues such as alleviating poverty, gender equality and work on projects that are designed to give people a hand up, not a hand out.”

As well as outlining his role in advancing cooperative associations in countries like Nepal and Uganda through international workshops and conferences, Doleman provided examples of projects such as creating financing for motorcycles to help plantation workers more quickly move their product to market and tarps to allow coffee producers to get a higher price for their goods, which were until then being dried on the dirt in town.

“Why do we do this? It’s for the next generation and the generations to come. There is almost a generational transfer that needs to take place,” he said, noting he is always inspired by the will of people in underdeveloped countries.

“If there is one thing I learn and one thing that motivates me, it is working with people who live in abject property but who still have such hope, such drive and determination and who want to work to make someone else’s life better, not necessarily their own.”

Showing the commitment the northwest credit union has to the international community, Northern Savings Credit Union became the first North American credit union to support the massive Asian Confederation of Credit Unions, which boasts 42 million members in several different countries.

“Being that Prince Rupert is a gateway to Asia and having that connection, we determined that it was important for us to support them,” he said, adding the credit union movement is continuing to grow.

“They have just started three credit unions in China, the first ever in that country, and it will be interesting to watch how that develops.”