Not only was October Co-op Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but credit unions around the world found creative ways to celebrate International Credit Union Day on Oct. 21.
ICU Day has been celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October since 1948 and this year's theme was "Local. Trusted. Serving You." It was selected to remind people everywhere that their credit unions are there to serve them, rather than to make a profit off their transactions.
In Washington, D.C., the annual webcast co-sponsored by U.S. Credit Union Development Educators and World Council of Credit Unions focused on the constant support credit unions provide.
"Credit unions in many different countries play a vital role in helping people who otherwise would lack access to basic financial services," said Pete Crear, WOCCU president/CEO and one of the panelists who was at the Credit Union House on Capitol Hill for the webcast. "Celebrating ICU Day each year is a reaffirmation of the value credit unions provide to members at all socioeconomic levels around the world."
In addition to Crear, this year's panel included Bill Cheney, president/CEO of CUNA; Paul Hazen, president/CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association; and Mark Meyer, CEO of the Filene Research Institute. Paul Berry, the voice of CUNA's Home and Family Finance Radio, served as moderator.
For many credit unions, no celebrations could be complete without trays of food, not only as a treat for members but also as a way to help build awareness.
For example, at Atlanta Postal Credit Union and Gwinnett Federal Credit Union, branches were decorated with ICU Day posters and balloons and members were greeted with cookies, Skittles, fresh fruit and coffee.
In Texas, the Houston Chapter of Credit Unions used the day to raise awareness and hopefully increase credit union membership by promoting its "Experience a Houston Credit Union" website at www.houstoncreditunions.org. The site features information about the credit union difference, includes a zip code-based search engine to help locals to find a credit union and encourages interaction with a "share your story" section.
In addition, the chapter partnered with the local NBC Houston affiliate, KPRC, to have all-day exposure on Click2Houston.com, one of Houston's major TV stations' website. By clicking on any of the chapter ads, Click2Houston.com visitors were redirected to the chapter's website.
FORUM Credit Union opted to expand its ICU Day activities by participating in Indiana's fifth annual Money Smart Week as well.
Money Smart Week was designed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to help consumers learn better personal finance management.
The Indianapolis-based credit union designated Oct. 18 as Free Credit Check Day, where locals received a free credit check and analysis. Other events planned for the week ranged from Savings Day, where members can receive $5 when they open an account, to Kids Day, where children enjoyed candy, activities while learning more about FORUM's Aware Kids and Teens accounts.
In Virginia, Belvoir Federal Credit Union participated in the 15th annual Fort Belvoir Oktoberfest. The four-day festival highlighted German food, music, dancing, carnival rides, and local businesses to help promote the existing partnerships existing between Fort Belvoir and the surrounding communities.
During this celebration of events, Belvoir Federal held a drawing for two entrants to each win a $100 gift card.