October 20 is International Credit Union Day

posted October 20, 2016 in Press Releases

On October 20, 2016, credit unions around the world will celebrate International Credit Union Day (ICU Day).

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, offering the same services as other financial institutions, but with a people-first philosophy. Since 1948, on the third Thursday of every October, credit unions have celebrated the principles that make credit unions the best financial partners of people all over the world.  “The authentic difference,” this year’s ICU Day theme, zeroes in on what makes credit unions different from banks, fintech startups and other financial institutions—our principles. 

Credit unions all over the world have operated according to the same core principles since the 1850s, when a group of weary German workers, tired of being exploited by loan sharks, formed the world’s first credit union by banding together to provide affordable credit to each other.

These principles are derived from the 9 cooperative principles, shared by all cooperatives.   

  1. Democratic Control
    One member = One vote. Whether you have $5 or $5 million, your voice is equal.
  2. Open and Voluntary Membership
    Members are connected by a bond of association, fostering a sense of community.
  3. Service to Members
    Credit unions are ranked No. 1 in service in numerous surveys, because they exist to serve members, not profit.
  4. Distribution to Members
    Credit unions return all profits to their members through dividends, lower fees, better savings rates, and improved services.
  5. Building Financial Stability
    Credit unions are historically stable organizations. They’re owned by the people they serve, so they don’t take unnecessary risks.
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
    Credit unions and cooperatives share the same principles. Together, they amplify each other’s good works.
  7. Social Responsibility
    Credit unions strive for social justice by committing to strengthening their communities and helping people of modest means.
  8. Ongoing Education
    Credit unions prioritize financial education for their members, employees, and communities as part of their pursuit of social justice.

This is why we celebrate ICU Day at Greater Iowa Credit Union. We think ideas like people before profit, social responsibility, and financial education improve lives. It’s why cooperative banking is a key component of helping people in developing countries get access to microloans, or a middle-class couple in Iowa receive an affordable mortgage for their first home. 

So when we wish you a Happy ICU Day at GICU, know that we’re thanking you for belonging to a movement that’s helping your neighbors—and people around the world—grow and thrive and follow their dreams.