On October 15, 2015, 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 a simple but radical idea—that by working together, people can improve their financial well-being. “People helping people,” this year’s ICU Day theme, is the foundational philosophy of the credit union movement, going back to the very beginning.
Join us in honoring the generosity and commitment of credit union members by visiting the official ICU Day website. You'll find helpful promotional items, including a social media toolkit, images, articles and best practices. CUNA's online store has clothing, decorations and giveaway items—all available in bulk prices—that can be used to engage your community in the celebration.
History of ICU Day
In the 1850s, hard times hit Germany, and people turned to each other for help. They removed small savings from under mattresses and made reasonably priced loans to one another. These early credit unions were the model for all the credit unions that followed: not-for-profit, democratically controlled and community oriented.
In the 1920s, Edward Filene took cooperative finance to the next level in Boston, as a means of lifting working people out of debt and creating a better life. On January 17, 1927, the Credit Union League of Massachusetts celebrated the first official credit union holiday. January 17th is the birthday of Benjamin Franklin, America’s “Apostle of Thrift,” who credit union founders believed to symbolize the purpose and spirit of credit unions. During this time, the credit union movement was new and spreading. People involved only began to recognize the celebration’s significance and were unable to devote the time required for sufficient planning. Credit Union Day quietly faded away.
The U.S. Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and CUNA Mutual Insurance Society initiated a new national Credit Union Day celebration in 1948. The third Thursday of October was set aside as the national day of observance. This occasion brought members together to promote the credit union philosophy nationally and reflect upon credit union achievements and history. Members raised funds for the movement and paid homage to loyal supporters and pioneers.
The World Council of Credit Unions, established in 1971, assists credit union movements and supports their development around the world. World Council observed the first International Credit Union (ICU) Day more than 30 years ago, and continues to endorse global celebrations. The credit union movement has grown to more than 200 million members in 101 countries.