Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: George M. Yoshino Interview
Narrator: George M. Yoshino
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Date: June 17, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ygeorge_3-01-0023

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TI: And so after the war, did you and your wife get involved in any Japanese community organizations and events?

GY: Oh, yeah.

TI: What were some of them that you got involved in?

GY: I don't know. I did most of it, she didn't do too much. She accompanied me all the time, but as far as holding office or anything like that, I didn't see anything.

TI: But what were some of the organizations that you got involved in?

GY: Well, we started out, like I said, I had experience in the co-op and stuff like that. That one there, when one of the members thought we should maybe, the JACL should have a credit union, I said, "Sure, okay, let's have one." 'Cause I knew the workings of it. So we formed it.

TI: Oh, so you helped form the JACL Credit Union?

GY: Yeah, I was there from the first time they started talking about it. And I'm a charter member. We don't have the credit union anymore, but I was a charter member, number 7. [Laughs] The rest of 'em are all gone. So it worked out pretty good.

TI: So I'm curious, what was the thinking behind starting a credit union with the JACL? Why was that a...

GY: I don't know. One man, he thought about it, he says, "Well, help each other." We'll chip in some money and help each other, whoever needs money. That's how it started.

TI: So it was kind of like a Japanese American community bank in some ways? That people would have their money held by the credit union, and the credit union would then loan to other Japanese Americans?

GY: Yeah. So we started up pretty good. If we had to go out and get a loan ourselves, the organization had to go get a loan ourselves from the headquarters and loan it out to the Nisei members. Aside from that, I think they all paid in. We're doing all right. I mean, I don't, I don't think we had any bad debts when I turned it over to the central, National JACL took over. So I don't think we had any debts.

TI: So I'm curious, did credit unions make quite a bit of money? Does that make money, the credit union? Because it's just like a bank.

GY: Oh, yeah, it was just like a bank only you had control of it, that's all.

TI: And now the credit union is owned by the National JACL? Okay, I didn't know that. That's interesting. And that's interesting, and you helped start that.

GY: Yeah.

TI: 'Cause I think, I still see it around with the advertisements and stuff, and I think I've read or heard that it's still quite successful.

GY: Oh, yeah. I mean, well, the National JACL credit union is the millions, you know. I think they're still doing okay. They advertised it same as we used to do, "Get your loans here, buy cars," and stuff like that. So I think they're doing okay. Up to this last year, they came from Salt Lake, and we had our annual meeting, so that's about it. And from here on out, I don't know what's going to happen. I ask 'em, "What happened to the reserve we had?" [Laughs]

TI: Well, I think all the banks, hopefully they didn't get hurt too much this last financial, this financial crunch. So George, I'm going through my list of questions, I finished all the questions I have, and wondered is there anything else that you wanted to talk about that I didn't ask about or cover?

GY: No, I haven't got anything else, I mean, as far as living in the community, I think Helen and I both did okay. 'Cause she was outgoing to start with, so she got along with everybody. Even selling furniture, sold to some Japanese people, and I think we did okay. (Narr. note: My wife passed away just after our forty-sixth anniversary.)

<End Segment 23> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.