To­day is In­ter­na­tional Credit Union Day

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL CREDIT UNION DAY FEATURE -

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

credit unions.

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