When you trace your roots to a time when Alphonse Desjardins was traveling around New England preaching the gospel of member-owned financial cooperatives, you’ve been around a while.

In the case of Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union in Lowell, Mass., that means more than 100 years. The credit union, which just surpassed $1 billion in assets, was founded in 1911 by French-Americans in an area of Lowell known as Little Canada.

In June that year, Desjardins was invited to speak at a church-sponsored gathering. The Lowell Courier Citizen reported that after his talk people raced to sign the petitions that would result in founding the credit union. The organizers were seeking 100 signatures and obtained 200.

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