Credit unions: A gist
Over time, credit unions become an integral part of the communities where they exist. Even though credit unions are financial institutions, the working methods and principles are different from traditional banks. They are owned and operated by the credit members themselves. The voting and ownership rights of members do not depend on their savings. These members appoint the volunteer Board of Directors. Members themselves become a part of the Board.
What makes credit unions unique?
The usual banking features like credit facilities, savings and, checking accounts are available. However, generating profits is not the intention of credit unions. There are additional benefits offered to members in the form of lower interest rates and flexible repayment periods. Benefits may vary from organization to organization. Being a non-profit set-up, credit unions have gained immense popularity, which is the main reason these organizations are unique.
The way credit unions support members and enhance their financial well-being reiterates that society is an essential part of shaping people’s lives. Credit unions acknowledge the special purpose of assisting their members financially. Each of their members is valuable. The importance for all members is equal. We do not see this attitude in all financial institutions, wherein a high-net-worth individual may be given special attention.
When we talk about financial health or well-being, we know that it is not easy to enhance conditions without detailed planning, knowledge of macro-economic factors, political influencers, and similar factors. Credit unions and their appointed Board of Directors have been very cautious about managing financial affairs and considering the monetary benefits they can provide for the members. Credit union activities cannot take place without the cooperation of stakeholders involved. All things considered, we can see how important it is to mark a special day to motivate credit unions worldwide.
International Credit Union Day 2021
International Credit Union Day, also known as ICU Day, falls on the third Thursday in October. This year, International Credit Union Day 2021 will be celebrated on 21st October. The celebration of credit unions started in 1948, with cooperative institutions and credit unions participating enthusiastically. This day recognizes the achievements of different credit unions and the vital contributions they’ve made towards the financial health in various regions. Members have come to depend on their services to achieve their financial goals. Given how financial planning has many complexities, having a credit union for a financial partner is helpful. We need to value this kind of community engagement.
The buzz on social media websites starts days before the actual day. No matter how big or small a celebration is planned by credit unions, being noticed on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram seems like a must in today’s day and age. Credit Unions in different countries have their traditions, with many contributing to societal development at the same time. For instance, they use the opportunity to connect with other financial institutions to provide value-added products to their members. They also conduct environment drives that involve local communities. These activities portray their genuine commitment towards society and imbibe more trust in this type of financial organization.
What is the theme of International Credit Union Day 2021?
The theme for International Credit Union Day 2021 is ‘Building financial health for a better tomorrow. This theme has a strong message, instilling in our minds the significance of managing finances wisely. Building financial health is not a one-time activity. There are many stages through which people have to go before they genuinely achieve financial success. Even once they do achieve success, they have to keep on assessing and investing systematically. The theme is apt for the post-covid conditions also. It places stress on how a better world can be established by focusing on financial health.
What can credit unions do to join in the celebrations?
1. Engage one and all to build lasting community relationships:
As usual, there are different ideas that members put forth to celebrate the day. Some of them involve engaging existing members and also encouraging new participants. Nowadays, social media is a crucial tool for promoting credit unions and their core message. The hashtag #ICUDay is used widely for promotions. Credit unions can use the opportunity to share their values, opinions, the benefits of joining their organization, along with informative photos and videos. Many people might be unaware of what credit unions have to offer. Amid these celebrations, credit unions can resolve any doubts or queries.
2. Implement unique and creative ideas:
International credit day ideas also include planning a special week or continuing the celebrations over a while. A prolonged celebration inspires new ideas, and local credit union offices can also conduct special day contests. Contests can include sharing simple photos, quizzes on relevant topics, or posting articles using the #ICUDay hashtag. Apart from this, credit unions can organize social and environment-related initiatives. These initiatives promote their organization as well as support the local crowd in some way. Organizing a marathon, blood donation camp or cleanliness drive, collecting funds or clothes for donations, sponsoring a local event; good causes like these uphold the positive image of credit unions.
3. Inspire the community:
This day provides the optimum platform to create more awareness and help people get registered successfully. In this way, the staff at credit union groups can share vital information and connect with their contacts on social media effectively. Organizing events for staff members and providing rewards will make the day extra special for all. The positive energy reverberates throughout the community when a maximum number of people are engaged in the events. Although this may seem like a small celebration, it would open new doors to secure their financial future for many.
4. Generate enthusiasm among members and staff:
People understand the achievements and successes of these cooperatives when a particular day is assigned for celebrations. There is more hype about the topic, and interested people are invited to participate in the movement. The celebrations are not limited to the internet. The local offices of credit unions and cooperatives come to life. The members put together events as well, which depend on their budget and enthusiasm among members. It is natural for the younger generations to be more impressed when digital technology or virtual sessions are available to share their thoughts and participate in the celebrations.
5. Create a statement using ICU Day merchandise:
There are many products, like badges, T-Shirts, mugs, and stationary, which credit unions can use when celebrating ICU day. At a glance, people know that these financial institutions are proud of their contributions to society. Moreover, using freebies like complimentary calendars or car stickers will create a positive impression. Free merchandise and paid customized products are all available online, and there are further discounts also. It is only a matter of finding suitable products.
We can see that credit unions can conduct many activities to celebrate International Credit Union Day 2021. We do not just recognize the financial or operational aspects of credit unions. We realize their true worth from a societal point of view and how they can help develop individuals and societies alike. This day not only creates scope for credit unions or their members but allows everyone to appreciate their contributions.