A credit union is not an ordinary financial concern, seeking to enrich its members at the expense of the general public. Neither is it a loan company, seeking to make a profit at the expense of the unfortunates? The credit union is nothing of the kind; it is the expression in the field of economics of a high social ideal.

— Alphonse Desjardins, The Canadian credit union pioneer made the remarks in a speech in the early 1900s.