Mike Welch's remarks in his Sept. 4, 2002 column ("Hired guns, single sponsors, ICU Day, and more") regarding International Credit Union Day is especially interesting for me. My father, Charles F. "Charley" Eikel, Jr., started the modern International Credit Union Day. It was inaugurated in 1948. In 1947 Charley got this idea that CUs in the U.S. and Canada could set aside a day in which they would hold chapter meetings simultaneously. He and another CUNA/CUNA Mutual employee, Mary Jean McGrath, went to Chicago to lobby Kraft Foods to have the radio music program, "Kraft Music Hall" honor credit unions during its season opening program. It was a network hook-up and chapters all over North America would be listening in during their gatherings. The season opener for the program was the third Thursday in October. Included in the broadcast, which the guest star was Al Jolson, were to be a few words from the U.S. President and Canadian Prime Minister about their nations' credit unions. Mr. Kraft thought it was a good idea, but his advertising firm, J. Walter Thompson, thought that was no way to sell cheese and convinced Kraft to scrap the idea. Undaunted, Charley persuaded the boards of CUNA, CUNA Mutual and CUNA Supply to approve an International Credit Union Day. CU pioneer Roy F. Bergengren started a national credit union day in the 1920s but it lasted three years and died. He was alive during the time Charley was starting ICU Day, but never said anything. Whether ICU Day has outlived its usefulness: it shouldn't. Credit unions, leagues and chapters could do many things to make it significant and can find help, as you said, in doing so. It's one more way to tout CUs' uniqueness. Can you imagine "International Bank Day?!!" And now you know why ICU Day is always on the third Thursday of October. Chuck Eikel CUNA Mutual Group - Retired Credit Union Development Educator Member - CUNA Credit Union
International CU Day history lesson
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