International Credit Union Day: ‘Together we’re better’—World Council of Credit Unions

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More than 172 million celebrate Oct. 18 as International Credit Union Day

After losing her husband in the war, a mother in Afghanistan takes a small loan to start a micro-business that supports her family.

An elderly father in Mexico pays for his health care with the remittance money he receives from his son working in Texas.

A student in the United States uses her savings and school loans to finance her education. She’ll be the first generation of her family to graduate from college.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that provide an effective and viable alternative to for-profit financial institutions for more than 172 million members in 97 countries. They are member-owned and exist to provide a safe place to save money and access affordable loans.

More than 172 million credit union members around the world will celebrate International Credit Union Day on Oct. 18, 2007, to commemorate the credit union movement’s history and achievements. In honor of this special day, since 1948, International Credit Union Day has been celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October. Each year, it affords the opportunity to remember our proud history and promote understanding and support for the credit union difference. This year’s theme, “Together We’re Better,” reflects the value of credit union cooperation on all levels for members from all walks of life. Working together, credit unions build stronger institutions and more effectively serve their members.

Credit unions were originally established in Germany more than 150 years ago. Struggling farmers in a flood-stricken disaster area pooled their resources and provided low-cost loans to one another to avoid usurious interest rates charged by banks. This idea of cooperative credit, considered the cornerstone of the credit union movement, was founded on several basic principles:

Only people who are credit union members may borrow and save there;

Loans are generally made for “prudent and productive” purposes and;

A person’s desire to repay (character) remains a consideration in granting loans, rather than merely their ability (income) to repay.

Internationally, credit unions are recognized as a force for positive economic and social change and have found great success in both industrialized and emerging nations. They are built on a one member/one vote model that provides members with a unique opportunity to experience democracy firsthand.

International Credit Union Day is sponsored by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), the international trade association and development organization for credit unions, and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the premier trade association for America’s credit unions.

from the Oct. 17-23, 2007, issue

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