At the end of a year that saw credit unions, their members and their communities face unprecedented challenges, we wanted to recognize some of the great work our global community of financial cooperatives did to provide COVID-19 relief during 2020—and inspiring hope for the global community in the process.
We featured a number of the good deeds done by our members and their credit unions on International Credit Union Day 2020.
Many relief measures came in the form of additional or specialized services for credit union and other financial cooperative members. Here is just a sample.
- Canada's largest community credit union developed some inventive programs to help its 534,886 member-owners and its communities get through the crisis together.
- An Irish credit union provided special delivery services during the country's lockdown.
- Australia's customer owned banks fast-tracked debit cards to help vulnerable customers dependent on cash.
- Brazil's largest credit union system helped select startups to support the country's agricultural chain.
- The Asian Confederation of Credit Unions held workshops for women and youth members to help them develop a financial plan amid the uncertainty of the pandemic.
Other efforts were charitable in nature, helping to get needed supplies to frontline workers and vulnerable community members.
- Cooperatives in Kenya launched an initiative to help 500,000 vulnerable households.
- A U.S. credit union distributed $2 million to 83 local community organizations.
- Malawi credit unions donated food and other supplies to women with disabilities.
- A Guatemalan credit union put 10% of its profits toward community supports.
World Council also tried to do our part by offering critical guidance to members through publications like our COVID-19 Regulatory Guide for Credit Unions, and webinars that examined the impacts of the pandemic and helped credit unions conduct annual general meetings online. Our Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions also did its part, delivering 40,000 facemasks donated by the National Credit Union Federation of Korea to credit unions in more than 30 countries.
Indeed, credit unions worldwide lived the ICU Day 2020 theme of "Inspiring Hope for a Global Community" throughout the year—and will continue to going forward into 2021.