International Credit Union Day is observed on the third Thursday of October every year, falling on October 21 this year. Credit unions work towards allowing members to get more engaged and provide financial services. This day is celebrated through fundraising, contests, picnics, volunteering, and parades.
History of International Credit Union Day
The idea of credit unions evolved from the cooperative activities that took place in the 19th century in Europe. Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch and Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen pioneered the first true credit unions between 1846 and 1847 in Germany. And Raiffeisen, in 1849, started a credit society in Flammersfeld, Germany, that relied on the charity of wealthy men for support. In 1864, he organized a new credit union for farmers, on the principles of cooperative interdependence, a community-first approach, and a volunteer management framework that still holds value today. Meanwhile, in 1852, Schulze-Delitzsch founded the first ‘people’s bank’ to provide credit to entrepreneurs in the city.
The credit union movement spread across the globe, with Alphonse and Dorimene Desjardins starting a credit union in Lévis, Quebec, in the early 1900s. Alphonse, Roy F. Bergengren, and Edward A. Filene later helped to create credit unions in the United States.
In 1948, the U.S. Credit Union National Association (CUNA) started a new National Credit Union Day celebration. The World Council of Credit Unions was created in 1971 to help others in establishing and maintaining viable credit union movements in countries across the globe. The World Council, responsible for creating the first International Credit Union Day (ICU) materials some three decades ago, continues to provide resources to credit unions and associations throughout the world today. And ICU Day has been observed on the third Thursday of October since 1948.
International Credit Union Day timeline
Luigi Luzzatti forms the first credit union, the People's Bank of Milan, in Italy.
The movement spreads to Baroda in British India, with the formation of the Anyonya Co-operative Bank Limited.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Federal Credit Union Act to prevent high interest rates on loans during the Great Depression.
Congress creates the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund to insure members’ deposits in federally insured credit unions.
International Credit Union Day FAQs
How many countries celebrate ICU Day?
With each passing year, the number of countries celebrating this day grows. As of now, there are close to 274 million members across 118 countries who recognize and celebrate the credit union.
In which country are credit unions most popular?
Some of the countries with the most credit unions are the United States of America, India, Canada, Brazil, South Korea.
How do credit unions make money?
Credit unions make money through the profits earned from educational programs, low fees, better loan rates, etc. A member of the union can use another member’s money for a loan.
How to Observe International Credit Union Day
Become a member
You can choose to become a credit union member this International Credit Union Day. You will become part of a community that works toward helping people like you realize their dreams in the best way possible.
Implement community projects
Credit unions are all about their communities. You can conceptualize and implement a community project that could make a difference: Organize a fundraising event for a needy person, or a parade or camp that highlights the benefits of becoming a member.
Focus on education
You can volunteer to offer services to the members of a credit union on basic financial skills. This information can help people make informed decisions about their money and plan responsibly for their future.
5 Important Facts About Credit Unions
Shared branch network
Credit unions are part of a shared branch network and can allow members at one credit union to perform transactions at another credit union branch.
Credit unions are not-for-profit; they return their earnings to the union and communities.
Once you become a member of a credit union, you’re always a member.
Board of directors
The directors on the board of a credit union are elected by its members.
Variety of services
Credit unions offer a variety of financial services, contrary to the belief that they can’t match up to banks.
Why International Credit Union Day is Important
Welfare of members and community
Credit unions ensure the welfare of their members and communities so they can live fruitful lives. Through a range of valuable and affordable financial services, they work toward enriching people’s lives so they can live with dignity.
Reduces financial burden
Credit unions are known to provide loans with lower interest rates, thus leading to higher savings. Members are better served and end up saving significant amounts of money on loans taken for cars and education and mortgages.
Women are given equal rights
Credit unions work toward improving the lives of all their members, regardless of their gender. This means female members get equal rights and facilities from the union. Women can work toward building a better life for themselves, without having to depend on anyone.
International Credit Union Day dates