On October 20, 2016, Credit Unions around the world will celebrate International Credit Union Day (ICU Day). Since 1948, on the third Thursday of every October, Credit Unions have celebrated the principles that make us the best financial partners of people all over the world. “The authentic difference,” this year’s ICU Day theme, focuses in on what makes credit unions different from banks and other financial institutions – and that’s our principles.
Credit Unions all over the world have operated according to the same core principles since the 1850s, when a group of weary German workers, tired of being exploited by loan sharks, formed the world’s first credit union by banding together to provide affordable credit to each other.
These principles are derived from the 7 co-operative principles, shared by all Credit Unions:
1. Democratic Control: One member = One vote. Whether you have €10 or €10,000, your voice is equal.
2. Open and Voluntary Membership: Members are connected by a bond of association, fostering a sense of community.
3. Non-Discrimination: Credit Unions are open to all without regard for race, orientation, nationality, sex, religion, gender, or politics.
4. Service to Members: Credit Unions often top the polls in national surveys, because they exist to serve members, not profit.
5. Distribution to Members: Credit Unions return all profits to their members through dividends, lower fees, better savings rates, and improved services.
6. Building Financial Stability: Credit Unions are historically stable organizations. They’re owned by the people they serve, so they don’t take unnecessary risks.
7. Cooperation Among Cooperatives: Credit Unions and cooperatives share the same principles. Together, they amplify each other’s good works.
8. Social Responsibility: Credit Unions strive for social justice by committing to strengthening their communities and helping people of modest means.
9. Ongoing Education: Credit Unions prioritize financial education for their members, employees, and communities as part of their pursuit of social justice.
This is why we celebrate ICU Day at Naas Credit Union. We are proud to be part of such a strong, community focused movement. So when we wish you a Happy ICU Day, know that we’re thanking you for belonging to a movement that’s helping your community grow and thrive and follow their dreams.