On International Credit Union Day, credits unions are looking forward to prosperous years ahead, but they are also reflecting on the cooperative principles that built the industry over the last 168 years.
So what can the credit union industry look forward to?
According to a new report from IBISWorld, an industry research firm in Los Angeles, U.S. credit union industry profitability is expected to increase and revenue is set to continue on a steady, upward trajectory of 3.1% annually on average to $54.2 billion in the next five years, even though the number of credit unions in the nation will decline.
While future growth is expected, the industry landscape will be different than it was during the past five years as profitability improves and consolidation changes the structure of the industry and its participants. The number of credit unions in the United States is forecast to fall at an average annual rate of 1.6% to 6,599 by 2017.
The credit union movement, however, would not have flourished without its seven cooperative principles that are highlighted in a new white paper released by CUES in Madison, Wis., that organization said Thursday in its International Credit Union Day release.
“The seven values summarized in the white paper go back to 1844, when The Rochdale Principles first outlined fundamental concepts of cooperatives and the value of equality, equity and mutual self-help,” said Fred Johnson, CUES’ president/CEO.
The 30-page report discusses each principle individually and explores credit unions from around the globe, which have put the beliefs into practice. The download is available free to CUES members and non-members alike.
Meanwhile, to observe one of the cooperative principles of “Concern for Community,” the $3.9 billion Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union in Harrisburg continued its local longstanding tradition to observe International Credit Union Day.
PSECU traditionally sends a handful of employees out into the community to volunteer their time at local nonprofits. This year, PSECU wanted to expand that. So instead of sending employees out into the community, the credit union brought the community to its employees.
PSECU had onsite activities and volunteer opportunities for employees that benefitted three local nonprofit organizations, the credit union said.
Also Thursday, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad declared Thursday to be “Credit Union Day” as credit union supporters gathered at the state capitol in Des Moines.
“In an era that continuously poses economic and financial challenges for people around the world, this day honors credit unions’ principle of putting people before profits,” said Patrick Jury, president/CEO of the Iowa Credit Union League.
Minnesota’s governor issued a similar proclamation this week.
The third Thursday in February has been observed as International Credit Union Day since 1948. The United Nations also has designated 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives.