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Every October, Hawaii credit unions and their counterparts around the world celebrate International Credit Union Week. To many credit union members, celebrating Credit Union Week is quite similar to celebrating America’s birthday, 4th of July, Independence Day. Credit Union Week represents our financial freedom to choose with whom we save with or borrow from. As members, we are afforded a financial alternative other than banks, and savings & loans. While credit unions and banks essentially do the same things, accepting deposits and making loans, the philosophy and reasons why and how credit unions operate differs greatly from banks and thrifts. Credit unions are member-owned. Their board of directors consists of unpaid volunteers elected by members. Being democratically run, each credit union member has only one vote, regardless of how much he has in his account. For many, credit unions represent a financial freedom and a financial legacy to share with their families. Here’s some interesting background on Hawaii’s credit union roots. In Hawaii, a form of local credit cooperatives called “tanimoshi” was organized many years ago by early plantation workers pooling their money together so loans could be made. From small beginnings, the movement grew in Hawaii, and there are now over 650,000 credit union members in the state. Beginning October 21, 2004 will be a very special time to celebrate Credit Union Week in Hawaii. The Oahu credit unions will hold a special dinner at the JCC banquet hall to commemorate this event. In addition, CUNA will hold its annual Future Forum in Hawaii, for the first time since 1987, bringing about 1,500 credit union leaders and their guests from around the nation. Happy birthday to all credit unions! Wyman Au Vice Chairman Honolulu Federal Credit Union Honolulu, Hawaii

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