As a credit union member (we hope!), you may know about the credit union difference, but do you know the history of how credit unions came to be?
In 1948 the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) decided that every third Thursday of October would be International Credit Union (ICU) day. The day is used to recognize and reflect upon the history of credit unions and our achievements, and to raise awareness of the credit union movement around the world. It also provides an opportunity to engage with members. As we prepare to celebrate the 73rd ICU Day on October 21, let’s learn more about how we got where we are today!
Did you know that the first credit union was established back in 1864 in Southern Germany? Friedrich Raiffeisen, a cooperative pioneer, felt that by pooling monetary resources together between groups of people, they could enjoy an enhanced standard of living. This idea came as a result of farmers being charged unfair rates to borrow money from their landlords. Raiffeisen came up with the idea of community members pooling their money together so that individuals that needed a loan had easy and affordable access to necessary funds, and thus the very first credit union was born.
By 1909, the credit union movement transcended the Atlantic Ocean and reached American shores. Edward Filene served as the pioneer for this particular movement, which gained momentum and continued to grow. In 1920 Filene hired an attorney to assist him in expanding the movement, which in turn created a systemized concept for the credit union business model we all know today.
As of 2019, there are more than 86,000 credit unions from 118 countries on 6 continents serving a total of 291,432,972 members with a 9.55% penetration (WOCCU). In the U.S. alone, there are over 5,200 credit unions that serve a total of 120 million U.S. members and combined deposits of $1.22 trillion.
To highlight the credit union movement, every year credit unions around the globe celebrate International Credit Union day. Each year has a specific theme and this year’s theme is Building Financial Health for a Brighter Tomorrow.
Credit unions helps members establish financial stability through their financial wellness programs. These programs may vary among credit unions but the objective still remains the same: providing financial stability through financial education. As a credit union member, you have access to your credit union’s financial wellness programs, which are designed to help build a secure financial future. At Service CU, we are proud to offer online learning modules, partnerships to free financial counseling services, gamified learning tools for children, classes and much more.
Mark your calendars for International Credit Union Day on Thursday, October 21 and celebrate the 73rd anniversary of International Credit Union Day with us. Together, we can build financial health for a brighter tomorrow!