International Credit Union Day 2016

ICU Day: How will you demonstrate ‘The Authentic Difference?’

‘Never lose the personal touch or the willingness to help our members.’

October 17, 2016

Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, is International Credit Union (ICU) Day. The credit union movement has taken the opportunity to acknowledge credit union history and influence of the movement annually since 1948 on the third Thursday of October.

According to the World Council of Credit Unions, “The ultimate goal is to raise awareness about the great work that credit unions are doing around the world and give members the opportunity to get more involved.”

This year’s theme is “The Authentic Difference,” and credit unions around the globe will celebrate the many ways credit unions differentiate themselves in the financial industry via nine principles: Democratic control, open membership, nondiscrimination, member service, distribution to members, building financial stability, co-op cooperation, social responsibility, and ongoing education.

What are you doing to mark the occasion?

‘We can get 10 times more results if we let the world know what the CU has and is accomplishing.’—Edward A. Filene

LBS Financial Credit Union in Westminster, Calif., invites members to celebrate with light snacks in their branch offices. Also, they encourage use of LBS Financial debit and credit cards.

For every card purchase made on Credit Union Day, the credit union will donate 25 cents to Children’s Miracle Network.

“Support us in giving back to children in our communities and really make a difference on International Credit Union Day,” a press release states.

Register-Guard Federal Credit Union in Springfield, Ore., hopes to inspire parents to talk with their children “about the importance of saving and how the credit union can help.”

Register-Guard Federal members up to age 12 are asked to illustrate a coloring sheet and return it to credit union offices by Wednesday. The credit union will display the artwork, and participants will get a free gift.

Other gifts of appreciation available to RGFCU members include calendars, air fresheners, and snacks provided all day.

Members of FORUM Credit Union in Indianapolis will enjoy a free credit report and analysis. Also, those who either open a checking account or a MasterCard credit card with the credit union on Oct. 20 will receive $50.

Lebanon (Pa.) Credit Union will be serving either bologna sandwiches or a hot dog lunch at various locations. Small giveaways and games will be enjoyed by members, as well as the opportunity to win a 32” television and one of two FitBit Atlas.

Also, free balloons will be available and the Lebanon Police will join the fun as they visit the branches to make ID tags for children.

“In honor of this special day, Lebanon Federal Credit Union invites its members and the entire community to celebrate International Credit Union Day at all of its office locations,” says a post.

A good time will be had by all in the Spokane, Wash., area as “Spokane Chapter ‘Hits Nail on the Head’ for ICU Day Playground Build.” Credit union staffers, volunteers, and resources are sought to “join in the effort to build a new playground for the Northeast Youth Center.”

The project is one that is “very hands-on” and will benefit the community center that hosts about 100 children daily.

“We are going to be constructing the playground,” says Wendie Ellis, president of the Spokane Chapter of Credit Unions, and assistant vice president of deposits/operations at Numerica Credit Union in Spokane Valley.

“Part of the reason we are excited about it is that it’s tangible. We are going to have something to give them at the end of the day.”

Meanwhile, Wanigas Credit Union in Saginaw, Mich., plans to celebrate the entire week. It invites people to visit any branch on International Credit Union Day for cookies and a chance to win a $50 VISA gift card.

Also during the week, documents will be shredded for free and a low-rate auto loan promotion is offered. “Everybody wins,” notes Wanigas.

Note that Pacific Service Credit Union in Concord, Calif., is joining forces with CU4Kids in a project that benefits Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

When members tweet about Pacific Service to indicate “why they love their credit union” and further indicate #ShopForMiracles on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, CO-OP Financial Services will chip in $1 up to $100,000 to benefit Children’s Miracle Network for each mention.

Pacific Service also will contribute $2,500 to a local Children’s Miracle Network hospital, and CO-OP Financial Services will match the credit union’s donation.

Finally, Nymeo Federal Credit Union  in Frederick, Md., is celebrating “Random Acts of Kindness 2016” on International Credit Union Day.

During the week-long celebratory event, the credit union’s “staff will randomly treat community members by conducting random acts… such as filling gas tanks, buying groceries, treating organizations to breakfast or lunch, donating to a charity, and other giving ways.”

This will mark the third year Nymeo Federal has practiced random acts of kindness.

In addition, the credit union will host a Lost Wallet Scavenger Hunt to note the kindnesses “of all good Samaritans.”

Three green wallets will be hidden throughout Frederick. Each holds a $100 voucher payable to the bearer. Clues will be posted on social media.

‘The real job of the CU is to prove, in modest measure, the practicality of the brotherhood of man.’—Roy F. Bergengren

If you’ve not yet planned events for International Credit Union Day, CUNA is happy to offer these ideas and others for celebration:

  • Host an open house and conduct tours and serve snacks;
  • Invite elected officials to a “Meet the Members” day;
  • Share that the credit union movement is international and provide international foods;
  • Promote loans or open share draft accounts for the same fees charged the year your credit union started business;
  • Host a field trip for a local elementary school;
  • Plant a tree as part of a local beautification program;
  • Host a bike safety clinic for neighborhood kids; and
  • Collaborate with other area credit unions to sponsor a team for a walk or run to benefit a good cause.

Credit union pioneer Louise Herring once observed, “We have to remember never to lose the personal touch or the willingness to help our members.”

This year’s International Credit Union Day theme of “The Authentic Difference” is one in accord with her philosophical belief.

How will you demonstrate “The Authentic Difference” in your community?

LORA BRAY is an information research analyst for CUNA’s economics and statistics department . Follow her on Twitter via @Bray_Lora and visit the CUNA blog, The Research Roundup: Economic Perspectives.