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Credit Unions Gearing Up for International Credit Union Day 2011 Article Photo

Credit Unions Gearing Up for International Credit Union Day 2011

On October 20, 2011, credit union members around the world celebrate International Credit Union Day, an event to commemorate the credit union movement's impact and achievements. According to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), credit unions serve more than 184 million members in 97 countries worldwide by providing high-quality, cost-effective financial products and services. In addition to superior member service, they provide a safe haven for saving, affordable borrowing, and credit building. International Credit Union Day began in 1948 and has been celebrated each year on the third Thursday of October. All around the world, credit unions and their members pay tribute to credit unions' proud heritage and to the positive difference these institutions have made in people's lives.

"Credit Unions Build a Better World"

International Credit Union Day is sponsored by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), the international trade association and development agency for credit unions worldwide, and numerous national credit union trade associations and federations around the world. According to CUNA's Joanne Sepich, International Credit Union Day Coordinator, as a member of the World Council of Credit Unions, CUNA helps select the theme and artwork each year for this worldwide celebration. "The 2011 International Credit Union Day theme highlights the important economic and social contributions credit unions make to their communities worldwide." This year's theme also ties in with a larger mission, the International Year of Cooperatives 2012. This will launch later this year as credit unions join the greater cooperative business sector and the United Nations to bring about positive socio-economic growth and change through the formation of cooperatives.

International Credit Union Day 2011 Celebrations Abound!

"CUNA further encourages credit unions to share their celebration ideas with one another," says Sepich. And, credit unions respond, getting involved with all sorts of festivities from open houses to contests to member appreciation days to parades to picnics to special promotions and more! At Consumers Credit Union (Kalamazoo, MI), they have a week long celebration planned with a fun coloring contest for the kids as well as a food drive for local food pantries. According to Jeff Visser, Sales and Service Manager, his credit union uses this as an opportunity to engage its members on how the Credit Union gives back to its community. "We provide apples, donuts, and cider in keeping with the fall season in West Michigan."Consumers' members have an enthusiastic response to the International Credit Union Day displays and activities at the credit union. Visser says that it is a great time to educate members about the concept of member ownership and our mission. "For some newer members it's the perfect time to gain an understanding of what it means to be a member owner and the difference this makes in how our team interacts with them. We also find it a great opportunity to share our mission even with members that have been with us for years." Plus, it always reaffirms our more personal mission of providing superior member service - and how being a member/owner is vastly different from being just a customer somewhere else explains Visser.Consumers CU is embracing this year's International Credit Union Day Theme, Credit Unions Build a Better World, by displaying this message in all offices during ICU Week. Members who participate in the food drive will receive a re-useable grocery tote featuring the Better World logo. Consumers CU has done work in the community throughout the year as well. "In 2011, our team supported the American Cancer Society as a Diamond sponsor at Kalamazoo's Relay for Life (raising over $12,000); was a 'Walk MS' Kalamazoo site sponsor; and a Platinum Sponsor for the Alzheimer's Association (Southwest Michigan Chapter)," contends Visser.Annually, their employees deliver over 1,300 meals (for the 'Meals on Wheels' program) for Senior Services of Kalamazoo. This past summer they had four riders participate in the 'Make a Wish' ride in Michigan, riding over 300 miles to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation."Our members and team really enjoy celebrating the difference we make in our community and working with our members to help them achieve their financial goals. International Credit Union Day is a wonderful celebration of our commitment to member service and the communities we serve," says Visser.Northumberland County Schools Federal Credit Union (Milton, PA) celebrates International Credit Union Day in similar style, serving up some tasty treats with a side of member appreciation! The credit union hosts a cookout with their Board of Directors on Thursday and Friday each year with a menu of soda, hotdogs on the grill and chicken corn soup, hot and cold cider, coffee and cookies for members who visit the office on those days. There are also games for all ages with prizes for the winners. "We welcome this opportunity each year to reach out to non-members who may benefit from our services and celebrate with our existing members," says Brenda L. Raker, Loan Officer. Raker says that Members appreciate that the credit union recognizes their value, they have a good time talking with the Board and the employees; it is always a great success.In addition, NCSFCU will be holding their 3rd Annual "ShredFest" where members will have the opportunity to securely shred personal documents. "We ask that each member provide a food donation to support our local food bank or a monetary donation for the American Red Cross," explains Raker. In conjunction with Credit Unions Build a Better World, the credit union is making a contribution to the local community."We are giving back to the community we serve in the form of food and monetary donations to local charities. Our area has recently been hit hard with flooding and the local community is in desperate need of assistance," says Raker."We feel it is important for credit unions to distinguish themselves in the financial market place by demonstrating our differences. We pride ourselves on our level of service and the low-cost financial alternatives we can provide to the community." Veridian Credit Union (Waterloo, IA) celebrates International Credit Union Day by giving away free pocket calendars to their members at all the branches. According to Julie VanDaele, Public Relations Strategist, the credit union begins to hand out calendars on International Credit Union Day and continues to do so while supplies last. "Members love the pocket calendars and some make a special trip into the branches just to pick one up," says VanDaele.In the Des Moines area, KCCI-Channel 8 and WOI-Channel 5 will be airing a TV commercial recognizing credit unions during credit union month. "To support Credit Unions Building a Better World, Veridian is one of several credit unions sponsoring these ads and our logo will appear at the end of the commercial," explains VanDaele.Van Daele says that in addition to its International Credit Union Day festivities, Veridian typically holds member appreciation events or sponsors community events throughout the year to show its appreciation to members and the communities they serve.Credit unions are recognized as a force for positive economic and social change and have provided significant value in both developed and emerging nations. International Credit Union Day is the perfect time to celebrate the role and achievements of credit unions worldwide. For information about your credit union's celebrating plans, check out their newsletter, website, and Facebook or Twitter pages. You can also find up-to-the-minute information about International Credit Union Day 2011 and see how other credit unions are celebrating at http://www.facebook.com/icuday. Have fun and Happy International Credit Union day 2011!By Cyndi Cohen
Published October 18, 2011
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