MADISON, Wis. — Given the resiliency that credit unions and other cooperatives worldwide have shown throughout the economic recession, this year's International Credit Union (ICU) Day® theme focuses on credit unions' trusted, community-focused approach to member service. Financial cooperatives around the globe will celebrate their successes and heritage with common themes and poster campaigns throughout October.
"At a time when the public's trust is repeatedly compromised by large commercial banks, credit unions' commitment to their local communities and to providing trustworthy member service could not be more important," said Pete Crear, World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU) president and CEO. "This October let us all celebrate these fundamental credit union qualities that offer tremendous opportunity for the growth of financial cooperatives worldwide."
The theme for the Oct. 21 ICU Day — Local. Trusted. Serving You. — was first developed by Amanda Vester, marketing coordinator with Indiana State University FCU in Terre Haute. As a one-woman marketing department for the past three-and-one-half years, Vester was busy planning ISU Federal's 50th anniversary celebration when the ICU Day theme came to her. Vester's submission was selected from among multiple entries by an international committee with representatives from WOCCU, the U.S. Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Credit Union Central of Canada (CUCC), the U.S. National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), and the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA).
"As the credit union movement both here and abroad continues to grow stronger, we can see that it is the intrinsic characteristics of credit unions and many other financial cooperatives that give them their strength and allow them to survive, and even thrive in tough economic times," said Dan Mica, CUNA president and CEO.
In the United States cooperatives across sectors celebrate Co-op Month throughout October. This year, for the first time ever, NCBA and its member co-ops nationwide have joined credit unions and Canadian co-ops to share a common theme and graphics. In Canada, ICU Day coincides with the country's annual celebration of Co-op Week, which will take place this year from October 17-23.
"This theme of building trust in a local setting strongly reflects our core commitment to helping to support communities across Canada," said David Phillips, President and CEO of CUCC, a WOCCU member. "We are proud to stand with our partners in promoting positive values and relationships with our members."
Canada's Co-op Week theme for this year — Experience the Co-operative Difference — was adopted as the tagline for ICU day, and the Co-op Week poster will use the same graphics as the one for ICU Day.
"Co-op Week 2010 will be a celebration of the co-operative difference, the many advantages co-ops have over other business models, and the enormous difference co-ops have made, and continue to make, to the lives of Canadians and their communities," said Carol Hunter, executive director of CCA, a national association for Canada's co-ops and representing more than 2,000 organizations. "We want as many people as possible to experience the co-op difference first-hand, not only during Co-op Week, but all year round."
ICU Day has been celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October since 1948. The celebration of Co-op Week that same week in Canada became a national event in 1982.
Official ICU Day graphics are available to download on WOCCU's Website at www.woccu.org/icuday and promotional materials, such as sample advertisements and speeches, will be available soon. A variety of promotional products also will be available for purchase on CUNA's Website.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.