Community Service

A Brief History of International CU Day

This year's slogan: 'Local Service. Global Good.'

October 16, 2014
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A worldwide focus

During the 1950s, CUNA’s World Extension Department provided technical assistance and philosophical guidance for credit union development across the globe. So many countries had established credit union movements by 1964 that CUNA’s mission was formally expanded, and CUNA International was formed.

Each year, new national movements joined the credit union family, and more people wanted to celebrate their uniqueness and unity. Many people found appealing the idea of a special holiday that could be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of religion, political beliefs, cultural differences, or language.

An array of credit unions and leagues began to distribute publications, banners, slogans, and kits, and the day of honor and recognition grew to be acknowledged globally. Thus, the worldwide exposure to International Credit Union (ICU) Day became formalized.

By 1971, worldwide credit union progress was so substantial that it was again decided to restructure the movement and to form a fourth tier of service. This led to the creation of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), which assists in the establishment and maintenance of viable credit union movements wherever the need and desire are expressed.

In Canada, Australia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and the South Pacific, national and regional credit union federations and confederations were established to support and endorse credit union development. To aid in the process, that same year WOCCU also created the first ICU Day materials that were used around the world.

In 2010, CUNA created a Facebook page for ICU Day.

How do CUs celebrate?

As more people became involved, they created a variety of ways to mark the occasion. Many credit unions sponsor open houses and hold picnics, fairs, festivals, and parades. Public gatherings with visiting dignitaries have been found effective in attracting media attention and public involvement.

There are special contests and parties for children, plus poster or essay competitions. Tribute is paid to past, present, and future credit union leaders at banquets and dinner dances, and government officials make proclamations.

There are more than 112 million people served by more than 36,901 credit unions in 93 nations around the globe who could, potentially, celebrate ICU Day.

NEXT: Sixty-six years of ICU Day slogans

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