MADISON, Wis. (10/17/11)--International Credit Union Day may be Thursday, but credit unions are already celebrating, with events throughout the week. Credit unions will get a little help this year in convincing consumers why they are so important. The still struggling economy, consumers discontented with bank fees, and the fact that credit unions have consistently done the right thing by their members will add momentum to the celebration. Maine's credit unions are ready for Maine Credit Union Week 2011. In his Credit Union Week letter to the state's credit union staff and officials, Maine Credit Union League President John Murphy praised more than 3,000 staff and officials. "While many segments of the financial services sector have come under intense scrutiny for putting profits above people, credit unions have continued to build strong futures for their members, through focusing on doing what is in the best interests of the members, and going above and beyond to serve them," Murphy said (Weekly Update Oct. 14). He acknowledged that recent news of banks hiking fees "has increased interest and attention on credit unions so the timing of Credit Union Week is perfect." For the week, the league coordinated and provided all the editorial content for special supplements that will appear in nearly every daily newspaper in Maine and scheduled nearly 30 radio interviews as well as other coverage highlighting credit unions. Some credit unions already have a head start on celebrating. The $407 million asset Heritage CU, Newburgh, Ind., for example, celebrated the event this past Friday so it could accommodate more members. Its seven branches served members coffee and granola bars from opening until 11 a.m.; then hot dogs, chips and water from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; then cookies from 1 p.m. until closing time. It gave away hand sanitizer cozy clips and provided free document shredding at all locations. To coincide with the day's theme of "Credit Unions Build a Better World," it allowed employees who donated to Habitat for Humanity a Jeans Day. North Carolina's credit unions are planning events from bingo to bowling, and pizza to panel discussions, according to the North Carolina Credit Union League (Weekly Update Oct. 14). Three chapters are celebrating on Tuesday. The Tarheel Chapter will kick off with a presentation on the history of credit unions and the value of "Rediscovering Our Common Bond." The Western Chapter is displaying Seven Principles, Concern for Community and will host a Bingo Night with chances to win $500 in prizes. The Foothills Chapter will combine community service, fun and Halloween with "Disappearance of Death," a murder mystery that participants try to solve. It also will collect jars of peanut butter for Cooperative Christian Ministries. Other Carolina events occur on Thursday. The North Piedmont Chapter will provide an evening of pizza and bowling and donate $5 of the registration fee to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. It also will have a Credit Unions Got Talent program with contestants competing for a $600 prize. The Southeast Chapter will hobnob with goblins at its 2011 Costume Contest, and the Northwest Chapter has scheduled a comedian and mentalist to entertain. Both chapters will collect donated items for charities. In Pennsylvania, the latest Pennsylvania Newsmakers segment, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA), features PCUA President/CEO Jim McCormack and Senior Vice President Mike Wishnow talking with program host Dr. Terry Madonna, about how credit unions are a better deal as banks institute more fees as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act. They discussed the credit union difference, International Credit Union Day, and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation's work to assist flood victims of September's Tropical Storm Lee. The program airs on a number of television stations throughout the state this week (Life is a Highway Oct. 17). News Now will report on the more unusual ICU Day celebrations later this week.