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OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada – Last month marked a milestone in the rebirth of Ukraine’s credit union movement. Vyhoda Credit Union in the Western Ukrainian city of Striy celebrated its first decade of operations on June 16. “We are proud to have built this financial institution that has served our community so well,” says Chairperson Bohdan Sydorak. Vyhoda represents the re-emergence of a once-proud tradition of people-owned and managed financial institutions in Ukraine, a tradition that was broken with the dismantling and banning of credit unions during the Soviet era. With the help of members of Canada’s own Ukrainian credit unions, institutions like Vyhoda are once again delivering financial services to their communities. “Striy always had a strong tradition of co-operatives,” says Bohdan Kozy, program manager for Asia and Eastern Europe with the Canadian Co-operative Association. “The members of Vyhoda have certainly shown a deep concern for community in their work.” One of the first to register after Ukraine gained independence in 1991, Vyhoda weathered the period of hyper-inflation into which it was born and went on to grow and support its community amidst a difficult and unregulated environment. In 10 short years Vyhoda credit union has grown to 4,000-members, runs two branches and has assets exceeding CDN$300,000. It has earned top ratings from the Ukrainian National Association of Savings for being a financially strong and secure financial institution.

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