Today is International Credit Union Day
TODAY, THURSDAY, October 20 is being celebrated as International Credit Union (ICU) Day under the theme, ‘Credit Unions: The Authentic Difference’.
The theme speaks to the nine principles on which co-operative financial institutions, namely credit unions operate.
More than 223 million credit union members around the world are celebrating the day to commemorate the credit union movement’s history and achievement. ICU Day observances bring people together annually, to reflect on their co-operative history, credit union achievements, and to promote the credit union idea across the world. It is also a time to honour the service and achievements of the many pioneers who founded credit unions and those who serve today.
The first official observance of Credit Union Day for credit union members and workers was celebrated on January 17, 1927 in the United States of America. The day was chosen because it was the birthday of America’s ‘Apostle of Thrift’, Benjamin Franklin.
Two American credit union movement pioneers believed that Franklin symbolised “the life and teaching embodied in the spirit and purpose of credit unions”. At that time, however, there was so much activity in the development of credit unions in North America that people were either too busy to celebrate or too new to the movement to recognise the significance of their actions. Thus, after a brief trial period, the practice of Credit Union Day ceased.
In 1948, the US Credit Union National Association (CUNA) decided to try a new national Credit Union Day celebration. CUNA and CUNA Mutual Insurance Society set aside the third Thursday of October as the national day of observance. From there the practice spread to the rest of the world. Just over one million Jamaicans are members of the island’s 32