In­ter­na­tional Credit Union Day

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

In­ter­na­tional Credit Union (ICU) Day has been cel­e­brated on the third Thurs­day of Oc­to­ber since 1948. The day is rec­og­nized to re­flect upon the credit union move­ment's his­tory and to pro­mote its achieve­ments. It is a day to honor those who have ded­i­cated their lives to the move­ment, rec­og­nize the hard work of those work­ing in the credit union in­dus­try and show mem­bers our ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

The ul­ti­mate goal is to raise aware­ness about the great work that credit unions are do­ing around the world and give mem­bers the op­por­tu­nity to get more in­volved. Credit unions and as­so­ci­a­tions through­out the world cel­e­brate the day with fundrais­ers, open houses, con­tests, pic­nics and pa­rades. World Coun­cil of Credit Unions has pro­vided its mem­bers with ICU Day ma­te­ri­als for over 30 years.

What is a Credit Union?

Credit unions, called by var­i­ous names around the world, are mem­ber-owned, not­for-profit fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tives that pro­vide sav­ings, credit and other fi­nan­cial ser­vices to their mem­bers. Credit union mem­ber­ship is based on a com­mon bond, a link­age shared by savers and bor­row­ers who be­long to a spe­cific com­mu­nity, or­ga­ni­za­tion, re­li­gion or place of em­ploy­ment. Credit unions pool their mem­bers' sav­ings de­posits and shares to fi­nance their own loan port­fo­lios rather than rely on out­side cap­i­tal. Mem­bers ben­e­fit from higher re­turns on sav­ings, lower rates on loans and fewer fees on av­er­age.

Credit unions world­wide of­fer mem­bers from all walks of life much more than fi­nan­cial ser­vices. They pro­vide mem­bers the chance to own their own fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion and help them cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties such as start­ing small busi­nesses, grow­ing farms, build­ing fam­ily homes and ed­u­cat­ing their chil­dren.

Re­gard­less of ac­count size in the credit union, each mem­ber may run for the vol­un­teer board of direc­tors and cast a vote in elec­tions. In some coun­tries, mem­bers en­counter their first taste of demo­cratic de­ci­sion mak­ing through their credit unions.

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