Atlantic Canadians are a largely honest people, if a lost-wallet experiment is any indication.

The region's credit unions took 12 wallets and left them in public places across the four provinces.

Jennifer Murray, director of brand marketing for Atlantic Central, representing the region's 47 independent credit unions, said they believed that the values of honesty, trust and fairness are alive and well in the region, and wanted to test their theory.

"We assembled them with things like receipts, bus tickets, around $100 cash, a credit union debit card, and a little insert that said if lost, please contact, and we included a contact number," she said Tuesday.

Murray said the experiment was conducted a few weeks before Christmas, and they were pleased that, within hours, they began to receive calls. She said nine of the wallets were returned, with all their contents intact.

"We still don't know what happened to the others. They may still be out there," she said.

Charitable donations

Murray said she was impressed with the honesty of the people who found the wallets.

Most said simply that if they lost their wallet, they would want it returned to them. Many said they know the hassle of replacing identification cards and wouldn't want it to happen to them.

The good Samaritans were allowed to keep the money, while the credit unions also made a donation to a charity of their choice, she said.

"And actually some people who returned the wallets decided to top-up the donation with the money that was in the wallet. It's fantastic and speaks to who we are as Atlantic Canadians,"

Murray said she couldn't break down the results by province or community.

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