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International Credit Union Day: Celebrating the Authentic Difference

In the early 1900s, when Alphonse Desjardins, Edward A. Filene and Roy F. Bergengren established credit unions in the United States little did they know that 116 years later more than 217 million people worldwide would experience the “authentic difference” every day, just by being a credit union member.

This year’s theme is the “Authentic Difference,” which focuses on what makes credit unions different from banks, fintech startups and other financial institutions—our principles.

Credit unions were built on ideas like people before profit, social responsibility, and financial education, and these ideas improve lives. It’s why cooperative banking is a key component of helping people all around the world…developing countries get access to microloans, or middle-class couples in Kansas and Missouri receive an affordable mortgage for their first home.

Credit unions were built upon these cooperative principles:

  • Democratic Control. One member = One vote. Whether you have $5 or $5 million, your voice is equal.
  • Open and Voluntary Membership. Members are connected by a bond of association, fostering a sense of community.
  • Non-Discrimination. Credit unions are open to all without regard for race, orientation, nationality, sex, religion, gender, or politics.
  • Service to Members. Credit unions are ranked No. 1 in service in numerous surveys, because they exist to serve members, not profit.
  • Distribution to Members. Credit unions return all profits to their members through dividends, lower fees, better savings rates, and improved services.
  • Building Financial Stability. Credit unions are historically stable organizations. They’re owned by the people they serve, so they don’t take unnecessary risks.
  • Cooperation Among Cooperatives. Credit unions and cooperatives share the same principles. Together, they amplify each other’s good works.
  • Social Responsibility. Credit unions strive for social justice by committing to strengthening their communities and helping people of modest means.
  • Ongoing Education. Credit unions prioritize financial education for their members, employees, and communities as part of their pursuit of social justice.

For resources like articles, graphics, talking points and promotional items, visit the ICU Day page on CUNA’s website


State-specific Graphics for Kansas and Missouri Credit Unions

If you want to localize the ICU Day message, we have created several graphics that include state-specific information. These graphics are based on statistics provided by CUNA, NCUA, and the 2015 Economic Snapshot survey. 

View the downloadable graphics. (You must be logged in to access them.)

What is your credit union doing to celebrate the authentic difference? Use the hashtag #icudayks or #icudaymo when you post to social media, so we can follow all the great things you are doing. Or send us your stories and photos!