MADISON, Wis. (10/16/09)--Every credit union celebrated International Credit Union Day in its own way, but many of the celebrants did so in ways that reaffirmed their commitment to their members. "International Credit Union Day is the one time each year we all step back and celebrate the value of the cooperative model as an alternative financial service provider," said Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) President/CEO Jim McCormack. He commended the state's credit unions for "providing unparalleled value to consumers in a highly competitive marketplace."
CUNA Mutual Group employees celebrate International Credit Union Day by spelling out TRUE to illustrate their commitment to credit unions. Their T-shirts, bearing the word TRUE, were sold to employees to raise money for the National Credit Union Foundation’s Development Education program, which helps credit unions leverage their commitment to cooperative principles as a competitive advantage in the financial marketplace. (Photo provided by CUNA Mutual Group)
Credit unions in Pennsylvania took efforts to make sure their members and the public knew about that commitment. Thursday's Harrisburg, Pa. Patriot-News
featured an eight-page insert including articles about the history of credit unions, credit union philosophy, benefits of membership and credit union facts such as safety and soundness. PCUA and five credit unions sponsored the ads. In Ohio, credit unions were busy educating others, including their members. "I know it is not a holiday that is on many calendars," wrote Chris Blough, CEO of Wayne County Community CU, Smithville, Ohio, in an e-mail sent to members. "It hasn't made the 'Hallmark Holiday' status. Nobody (aside from those of us in the industry) will be throwing a party for it or sending a card. But that doesn't mean that ICU Day is a day that should go unnoticed." Blough celebrated Thursday by going to Waynedale High School and teaching three senior high classes the ins and outs of credit, "but this isn't just a one day thing for us," he said. "Two out of every three credit unions in Ohio provide some form of free financial education to their communities," Blough said. "That's more than 350 credit unions and communities that are strengthened because we know that the best financial tool out there is knowledge. Over 60% (and we are among them) of credit unions offer free one-on-one counseling to anyone, member or not, because we know that it is not right for those who know the least to get taken advantage of the most. Credit unions are a true community asset. Not a flashy one. Not a loud one. But a strong and stable one." In Delaware, credit unions published their eighth credit union supplement, with more than 120,000 copies inserted in Thursday's statewide newspaper, The News Journal
, said the Delaware Credit Union League. The supplement highlights the difference between banks and credit unions, and directs consumers how to find a credit union to join. Credit union member testimonials underscore the value of belonging to a credit union (Together
Oct. 15). "Most credit unions realize they need to tell the public who we are, to advertise credit union services, and to maintain visibility among members and potential members alike," said Alice Smith, Delaware league communications director. The publication was underwritten by the advertisements of 11 credit unions and features a directory of all 28 credit unions in that state. Credit unions in Georgia are celebrating ICU Day as well as the 100th anniversary of credit unions in the U.S. and the 75th anniversary of the Georgia Credit Union League by sharing "A Century of Good Advice," an online video featuring advice from both young and older Georgians. "By compiling testimonials of Georgians young and old about spending and savings habits over the years, Georgia credit unions hope to provide consumers with insight and inspiration for their own financial futures," said Michael Mercer, president/CEO of the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA). Gov. Sonny Perdue Wednesday signed a special proclamation honoring ICU Day. And GCUA also released a poll on the savings and spending habits of consumers in the state. The poll results are available at the resource link. It found that: 46% of Georgians spend less than they did one year ago, and 41% spend the same. Of those polled, 65% say their personal spending habits will be changed forever because of the current recession. Roughly 53% say either their mother or father was the biggest influence in their lives about money, with 27% indicating the father and 26%, their mother. The Texas Credit Union celebrated ICU Day and its 75 years of service. According to President/CEO Dick Ensweiler, "Each and every one of us has a chance to demonstrate the positive impacts credit unions are capable of. I have seen the differences we are making, be it on a local level by establishing relief assistance for those ravaged by Hurricane Ike or on the larger scale of advocating for actions to be taken on the political fronts" (LoneStar Leaguer
Oct. 15). "We operate under the mantra of 'people helping people' and I know of no better gift to our international credit union family than to commit to this philosophy for another 75 years," he said.