On Oct. 17, four credit unions in and around Muncie, Ind., will be sending ”kindness crews” to perform random good deeds, buying coffee and bagging groceries for unsuspecting consumers.
On the same day, Royal Credit Union in Eau Claire, Wis., will hold a drawing and award $250 to a winning member and another $250 to the local charity of the winner’s choice.
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 cooperative.
All three credit unions are celebrating International Credit Union Day, held the third Thursday in October each year. World Council of Credit Unions, the Madison, Wis.-based global trade association, sponsors the event.
This year’s theme, “Credit Unions Unite for Good: A Better Way,” was chosen from themes submitted by WOCCU member organizations, the group said. The winning poster art was designed by CUNA staff.
CUNA and Credit Union Central of Canada were key participants in choosing this year’s theme and logo. CUNA, which owns the ICU Day copyright for the U.S., supports the holiday through the sale of logoed products.
In order to accommodate the specific needs of each country, CUNA chose the first half of theme—“Credit Unions Unite for Good”—to represent credit unions’ support of members and their local communities and support its current Unite For Good campaign. CUCC chose the second half of theme—“A Better Way”—and different art to blend with Canada’s Co-Op Week celebration, which takes place Oct. 13-19.
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, said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO.
“Today there is a market-driven business rationale for finding cooperative solutions to consumer demands,” Branch said. “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, a move initiated by CUNA, the first official credit union holiday occurred much earlier, according to the WOCCU web site. On Jan. 17, 1927, the 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 WOCCU website offers a variety of resources credit unions can use to help celebrate ICU Day, including sample news releases, speeches and other activities. WOCCU used to distribute posters for its member groups worldwide to share with their credit unions, but stopped last year due to budget cuts. It now provides downloadable poster art on its website.