Each year since 1948, credit unions across the globe unite to celebrate what we do and why we exist during International Credit Union Day. It is a time to celebrate the credit union difference and to recognize the contributions that credit unions make every day in the lives of their members and their communities worldwide. A time to recognize the credit union difference in our own community here in Sioux Falls and the surrounding area.
This year marks 70 years of ICU Day celebrations and we are honoring that achievement with the chosen theme of “Find Your Platinum Lining”,combining the traditional platinum gift for 70th anniversaries, a play on the saying “every cloud has a silver lining” and a celebration of the platinum lining differences and impact credit union and other financial cooperatives have made and continue to make for their members.
The community commitment and positive economic and social change are just some of the ways that credit unions differ from traditional for-profit banks and financial institutions. Credit unions are very different, indeed, both in philosophy and structure. For more than 150 years, credit unions worldwide have proudly collaborated to put people before profits in order to provide access to affordable financial services for all members. Credit unions invest their earnings in helping members meet their financial goals. In addition to lower loan rates and better service, members experience the difference that comes through our democratic structure, service to members and social goals that credit unions embody.
Voyage FCU is just one of more than 89,000 credit unions in the world serving millions of members. Today we join our fellow credit union members in 117 countries to celebrate! Whether our members are affluent or less fortunate, from villages or cities, in communities at peace or in conflict, credit unions are present across cultures and languages, helping members turn hopes and dreams into reality. With access to a safe, convenient place to save their money and secure affordable loans, members from all walks of life are able to realize their dreams and create new opportunities for themselves, from starting micro-businesses to building homes and educating their children.
In the spirit of this International Credit Union Day, let us look beyond our local community to recognize credit unions and other financial cooperatives for the important role they play in many distressed urban and rural areas worldwide. Many people would not have been able to afford to own homes, start new businesses or attend school without the help of their credit unions. In some areas of the world, people would have no access to financial services at all without their credit unions.
No matter where you are in the world, access to financial services is vital. Rich or poor, we all face similar challenges in life. Together, credit unions are helping members overcome those challenges—not only here in Sioux Falls, but throughout the world. Credit unions have consistently carried on the traditions set forth by their founders and exemplified the values of thrift, self-sufficiency and volunteer leadership democratically elected from among the members. Those qualities help credit unions create a special place for themselves among the world’s financial institutions.
Please stop by a Voyage FCU branch and help us celebrate the 70th anniversary of International Credit Union Day! We will have coloring pages for the kids as well as some cookies to enjoy! One member at a time, we are working to build a stronger community and we look forward to serving you and your family for years to come!