Putting peo­ple be­fore profit

Rutherglen Reformer - - International Credit Union Day - 20th October -

For more than 160 years, credit unions have put peo­ple be­fore profit.

In the 1850s, hard times hit Ger­many, and peo­ple turned to each other for help.

They re­moved small sav­ings from un­der mat­tresses and started mak­ing rea­son­ably priced loans to one an­other.

These early credit unions were the model for all the credit unions that fol­lowed: not-for-profit, demo­crat­i­cally con­trolled and com­mu­nity ori­ented.

The prin­ci­ples that guided them then, guide credit unions to­day.

In the 1920s, Ed­ward Fi­lene took co­op­er­a­tive fi­nance to the next level in Bos­ton, as a means of lift­ing work­ing peo­ple out of debt and cre­at­ing a bet­ter life.

On Jan­uary 17, 1927, the Credit Union League of Mas­sachusetts cel­e­brated the first of­fi­cial credit union hol­i­day. Jan­uary 17 is the birth­day of Ben­jamin Franklin, Amer­ica’s“Apos­tle of Thrift,”who credit union founders be­lieved to sym­bol­ize the pur­pose and spirit of credit unions.

Dur­ing this time, the US credit union move­ment was new and spread­ing. In re­sponse to the Great De­pres­sion, new credit unions were be­ing formed to fill the void left by shut­tered banks.

The US Credit Union Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion (CUNA) and CUNA Mu­tual In­sur­ance So­ci­ety ini­ti­ated a new na­tional Credit Union Day cel­e­bra­tion in 1948. The third Thurs­day of Oc­to­ber was set aside as the na­tional day of ob­ser­vance.

This oc­ca­sion brought mem­bers to­gether to pro­mote the credit union phi­los­o­phy na­tion­ally and re­flect upon credit union achieve­ments and his­tory.

Mem­bers raised funds for the move­ment and paid homage to loyal sup­port­ers and pi­o­neers. The World Coun­cil of Credit Unions, es­tab­lished in 1971, as­sists credit union move­ments and sup­ports their devel­op­ment around the world.

World Coun­cil ob­served the first In­ter­na­tional Credit Union (ICU) Day more than 30 years ago, and con­tin­ues to en­dorse global cel­e­bra­tions.

The credit union move­ment has grown to more than 217mil­lion mem­bers in 101 coun­tries.

Cel­e­brate the credit union dif­fer­ence dur­ing this year’s ICU Day – Oc­to­ber 20, 2016.

Not-for-profit Credit unions are com­mu­nity ori­ented

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