About the OWCU

The Ottawa Women’s Credit Union is more than just your average financial institution and you are more than just a customer.  The OWCU offers a full spectrum of services including on-line banking.  Established in 1980, the OWCU worked to improve the lives of women in our community and is the only financial institution operated by women in Canada.

Today, our members include women, families, businesses and the diverse Ottawa community to whom we provide equitable access to financial services and offer information and advice in a supportive environment.

We’re a cooperatively owned credit union of 1000+ members and their families.

  •  When you join the OWCU you purchase, or accumulate a number of un-insured shares totalling $250.
  • A credit union is more than a bank. Every member is an equal owner. Each time you make a deposit, it is retained within the community and helps us grant loans and mortgages to other members.
  •  As a member, you help shape our future and the future of hundreds of other women, families, businesses and the diverse Ottawa community.

 Commitment to Community

The Ottawa Women’s Credit Union’s commitment to the well being of our members extends into the community too and we have a history of building on our values and principals to build a stronger Ottawa community.  Over the past thirty years we’ve:

  • Provided and supported training programs
  • Provided loans to our members with few recognized assets
  • Funded research to explore the financial and training needs of our member’s who are entrepreneurs in our region
  • Provided educational opportunities in the area of financial literacy

We routinely lend money to members with low incomes or few traditional financial assets and who are repeatedly turned away from traditional financial institutions. We also provide emergency loans to members in crisis. Our experience has shown that these loans have a consistently high rate of repayment equalling that of traditional loans, proving that our investment makes financial sense.

When you invest with us, you invest in your community.


Governance: What is a Credit Union?

Credit unions are autonomous, locally directed co-operatives which operate according to the principle of one member, one vote. All members are equal owners regardless of the size of their accounts.  Credit unions actively promote education in economic, social, and democratic self-help principles for their members, officers, employees, as well as the general public.

Every credit union operates within a “bond of association” – a common bond between all of its members.  The Ottawa Women’s Credit Union is part of a worldwide system of financial co-operatives. Members, who jointly own and control their credit unions, pool their savings to get financial services at reasonable costs. Credit unions are governed by the following “Co-operative Principles” adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance:

  • Voluntary and open membership
  • Democratic member control
  • Member economic participation
  • Autonomy and independence
  • Education, training, and information
  • Co-operation among co-operatives
  • Concern for community

The OWCU’s bond is members who live or work in the Ottawa community and their families. Founded in 1980 to respond to the financial needs of women not being met by banks and trust companies, the OWCU is the only financial institution operated by women in Canada.