Credit unions have been a vital part of the U.S. financial system since New Hampshire’s St. Mary’s Bank opened its doors November 24, 1908. Linked by an adherence to seven cooperative principles, credit unions have worked tirelessly to make a difference for their members by offering higher rates on deposits and making credit less expensive and more available.
The U.S. credit union movement was well established by 1933 when seven City of Seattle employees joined together to form their own financial cooperative, City Credit Union, which grew to become Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union. In 1934 Congress passed the Federal Credit Union Act, which provided the framework for federal chartering of credit unions. By 1969 there were more than 23,000 credit unions operating within the United States.
In 1948 the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) resolved to bring attention to the great things credit unions were doing for their members and to promote the credit union philosophy of thrift and fair lending practices. They set aside the third Thursday of October to be a national day of recognition of credit unions. Credit unions across the country were encouraged to celebrate as they saw fit.
By the late ‘70s credit union organizations throughout the world were spreading the message of the power of people banding together to provide each other financial opportunities that would not have been available otherwise. The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) saw the opportunity to promote credit unions on a world-wide scale and launched International Credit Union Day in 1978.
This year ICU Day falls on Thursday, October 21. ICU Day 2010’s theme is “Local. Trusted. Serving you.” The message is a powerful reminder that credit unions and cooperatives in general are built to provide a better value on services their membership needs rather than generate profits.
Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union is excited to participate in ICU Day 2010 and invites you to stop by any of our branches for refreshments and to talk to a branch representative about how using your credit union for loans, checking, and savings account can be better for you and better for your community.