Credit Unions Unite for Good: A Better Way

International Credit Union Day®

October 16, 2013

Why do 200 million people worldwide choose credit unions? Because credit unions unite for the good of their members to create opportunities for families, strengthen communities and help build a better world! This October 17, join LGFCU and 56,000 credit unions from 101 countries and their members in celebrating International Credit Union Day (ICU).

As democratically-run financial institutions, credit unions’ success depends on the success of their members. Your best interest is in our best interest! This year’s theme, “Credit Unions Unite for Good: A Better Way,” emphasizes the benefits of cooperation among credit unions worldwide. It also celebrates the powerful global network of credit unions, which no other financial institution can claim, and the advantages that result from sharing challenges, experiences and solutions with one another to better serve members.

For 30 years, LGFCU has offered affordable rates and high quality service that simplifies your life and empowers you to meet your financial goals. We give back to the community through scholarships and sponsorship of community events. We provide grants to local governments for their innovation efforts. And, our basic financial planning and money management services are free to members. Here are a few other examples of how credit unions worldwide empower members to improve their lives:

  • The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has funded World Council programs in Sri Lanka to empower women farmers and expand membership and services to rural areas where many people have been internally displaced by a decades-long civil conflict.
  • In Haiti, credit unions have helped their members recover following a catastrophic earthquake, so that their members have access to the resources they need to rebuild their lives and homes.
  • Amid the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, men and women alike are getting the chance to experience democracy first hand by voting at their local Islamic investment and finance cooperatives (credit unions).
  • In Mexico, credit union field officers provide mobile banking services to the poor in marginalized areas of the country through new handheld technologies, giving them an opportunity and affordable alternative to access financial services.
  • In the U.S. credit unions are committed to providing a safe and affordable alternative to predatory payday lenders. LGFCU does this by offering Salary Advance Loans. Credit unions are always looking for opportunities to bring underserved communities into a mainstream financial institution, providing access to affordable services.

As a credit union member, you’re part of a worldwide movement to keep financial services fair and affordable for everyone. ICU Day is a chance to celebrate you and all of the people who keep credit unions thriving. Find out if your local branch is having an International Credit Union Day event and celebrate with your fellow member owners!

LGFCU kids unite for good

Zoey, Josh and their friends are celebrating ICU Day in Penny Hollow. Print out these coloring pages so they can enjoy ICU Day in their own small way!

What makes credit unions unique?

When you open a credit union account, you aren’t only getting the usual financial products and services, you’re also gaining lifetime ownership of a financial institution with a social purpose. Here are a few ways credit unions are different by design:

  • Equal Ownership – Credit unions are democratically controlled and member-owned and operated. Each member has equal ownership and one vote regardless of how much money he or she has in savings accounts.
  • Not For Profit – Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that provide a safe, convenient place for members to save money and access loans and other financial services at reasonable rates. Earnings are returned to all members as better rates, fewer and lower fees, and improved services. Bank profits only go to shareholders, not all customers of the bank.
  • People Helping People – Credit unions exist to serve their members, not to make a profit. Every member counts, including those of modest means. This “people-first” philosophy impels credit unions and their employees to get involved in their community and support worthwhile causes.
  • Volunteer Leadership – Each credit union is governed by a volunteer board of directors elected by and from the credit union’s membership. Banks pay their directors and shareholders may not even bank where they own shares.
  • Financial Education for Members – Credit unions place particular importance on educational opportunities for their members and the public to help everyone become better-educated consumers of financial services.
  • Trust – Lately credit unions have received positive press for being trustworthy and resilient institutions during a tumultuous time. Credit union members worldwide can be proud of these accomplishments and rest assured that their money is safe at the credit union.

ICU Day has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948 and is designed to create awareness and celebrate the ways credit unions improve the lives of their members around the world.

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