MADISON, Wis. (5/21/09)--In response to the challenges facing credit unions and cooperatives worldwide, this year’s International Credit Union (ICU) Day theme will remind people everywhere of the advantages that credit unions provide their members.
ICU Day is Oct. 15 and takes place during National Credit Union Week. The idea for this year’s theme, “Your Money. Your Choice. Your Credit Union.” was developed by Stan Cowan of A+ FCU in Austin, Texas. The theme celebrates the reasons why 177 million people worldwide choose credit unions. Value, trust and service to members, all represented in the theme, are just a few of the many reasons credit unions are chosen by people seeking access to fair and affordable financial services according to the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU). “This year, more than ever, consumer finance and business experts have repeatedly highlighted credit unions as safe and sound institutions where people can depend on a trusting relationship,” said WOCCU President/CEO Pete Crear. “That is truly an accomplishment we can be proud of in these tumultuous times, and we should celebrate it this October.” Credit union leaders around the world agree that now is the time to come together and promote the credit union difference, WOCCU said. “In a time of economic upheaval when control has largely been taken out of the hands of consumers, this year's theme demonstrates that members, through equal ownership and voting rights, are squarely in charge of their credit unions,” said Dan Mica, president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). “We are pleased to work with other national and international groups on the campaign to promote International Credit Union Day and Co-op Week,” said David Phillips, president/CEO of Credit Union Central of Canada. “We work with these groups year-round on projects that support important initiatives that help members around the world cope with trying economic times.” Like their colleagues around the world, credit unions in Peru continue to find new ways to serve their members through changing times,” said Manuel Rabines, second vice chair of WOCCU and president of the Peruvian National Credit Union Association. “As a global movement, it's important we take time this year to demonstrate our strength and remind people about the many benefits we provide to our members.” ICU Day has been celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October since 1948. The celebration of Co-op Week that same week in Canada became a national event in 1982. In the U.S., October is also designated as National Cooperative Month celebrating all cooperatives including grocery, agricultural and energy co-ops, and credit unions. “While today's economic times pose serious challenges, they also provide an opportunity for the cooperative sector to demonstrate the differences between co-ops and traditional business models,” said Canadian Co-operative Association Executive Director Carol Hunter. “We know that people are increasingly interested in supporting organizations that are open, democratic and put people before profits, and that's what cooperatives and credit unions are all about.”