CU Water Cooler

CUWCS Talk: Sawdust, Empty Bottles and Moustaches

William AzaroffComment

As credit union people, when we get together we often end up talking about our cooperative roots. Then we pretty quickly get into weird discussions like whether we’re a movement or a system, or whether we use .coop or .com for our website domains. We immediately get into the minutiae and don’t spend nearly enough time talking about our principles and values or how our roots can guide us in the modern, chaotic, competitive world of financial services.

My talk, Sawdust, Empty Bottles and Moustaches is a retelling of our cooperative history against a backdrop of modern community pressures like food deserts and emerging opportunities such as the sharing economy.

I hope that people who see my presentation see the connection between our history and principles, the needs of the people in our communities and the business opportunities before us as financial cooperatives. And maybe, just maybe, our credit unions will build stronger connections with the coops operating in our trade regions and build enduring partnerships for mutual benefit.


William Azaroff lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He is Director, Business & Community Development at Vancitya values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its 500,000 member-owners and their communities. William leads a team who work with local businesses, not-for-profits, social enterprises and co-operatives that contribute to a vibrant, sustainable, inclusive local economy, and engage Vancity's members and the public around their Good Money™ brand.