On Oct. 17, four credit unions in and around Muncie, Ind., will be sending out ”kindness crews” to perform random good deeds, buying coffee and bagging groceries for unsuspecting consumers.
It will be another effort by Credit Unions United for a Cause, a co-op of Delaware County, Ind., institutions to give back to the communities they serve.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, Swords & District Credit Union in Dublin, Ireland, will be decorating its office, offering free premium items and holding competitions for members who visit the institution.
In both situations, credit unions are scheduling activities that will help celebrate International Credit Union Day, an annual event held the third Thursday in October each year.
World Council of Credit Unions, the Madison, Wis.-based global trade association, sponsors the event, serving as an information resource for credit unions worldwide.
This year’s theme, “Credit Unions Unite for Good: A Better Way,” and the CUNA-designed poster art was chosen from themes submitted by World Council member organizations.
Activities celebrating ICU Day vary from credit union to credit union and from country to country, but the movement’s cooperative spirit and the benefits it brings to members form the guiding philosophy behind each celebration, according to Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO.
"Cooperation within the financial cooperative industry has historically been considered a philosophical principle, but today there is a market-driven business rationale for finding cooperative solutions to consumer demands,” said Branch. “It is fitting that we celebrate this year's ICU Day with this recognition — that credit unions uniting for the good of our consumers truly is a better way of doing business."
Although celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948, the first official credit union holiday occurred much earlier, according to the World Council web site. On Jan. 17, 1927, the then-Credit Union League of Massachusetts established the first Credit Union Day for members and workers.
The date was chosen because it also was the birthday of Benjamin Franklin, America’s “apostle of thrift” whom organizers believe embodied credit unions’ cooperative spirit. Changing times and a growing credit union movement caused the day to be forgotten until it was revived and repositioned by CUNA shortly after World War II.
The World Council website offers a variety of resources credit unions can use to help celebrate ICU Day, including sample news releases, letters to the editor, speeches and other activities.
WOCCU formerly distributed posters with the theme and artwork for its member groups worldwide to share with their credit unions, but ceased the practice last year due to budget considerations. It now provides downloadable poster art on its website.
Social media has played an increasingly stronger role in connecting credit unions around the world that are celebrating ICU Day. The World Council is attracting Facebook posts and Tweets to a special ICU Day page.
CUNA has been posting its own ICU Day content on Storify.