Hap-PEA International CU Day! Posted on October 16, 2014 By Nathan Binder Hello, Credit Unions, or should we say “Hola, Cooperativas de crédito,” or “Bonjour, Banque coopérative!” Today is International Credit Union Day! ICU Day was created in 1948 as a celebration of the history and achievements of the credit union industry. Credit unions have come a long way over the years. In honor of ICU day, let’s take a brief look into credit union history: Crop failure in Germany caused Herman Schulze-Delitzsch to organize a cooperatively-owned mill and bakery that sold bread to its members at substantial savings in 1846. Schulze-Delitzsch and Friedrich Raiffeisen both applied this notion of cooperative ownership to credit, and in 1850 the first “people’s bank” opened. Although rooted in farming, these early German credit unions shared the modern principles of democratic governance: one vote per member, and a member-elected board of directors. In 1900, the credit union concept crossed the Atlantic to Quebec. 9 years later, the first credit union opened in the United States in New Hampshire. The Massachusetts Credit Union Act became law on April 15, 1909, and served as a basis for the Federal Credit Union Act 25 years later. During the 1920s, credit unions became increasingly popular as a source of inexpensive credit and consumer loans. By 1925, 26 states had enacted laws to charter credit unions. By 1930, 32 states had adopted credit union laws with a total 1,100 credit unions. In 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law, creating a national system to charter and to supervise federal credit unions. The credit union movement grew steadily, and by 1960 there were 6 million individuals belonging to over 10,000 credit unions. In 1970, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) became an independent federal agency. Credit Unions expanded their services in the 1970s as financial landscapes shifted. The industry grew swiftly, with assets in the $65 billion range. Credit Unions continued to prosper until the recent financial crisis. The NCUA worked in conjunction with Congress and the Department of the Treasury to control the casualties and protect the injury. Overcoming the financial crisis, the credit union industry continues to grow. Today, credit unions have nearly 100 million members with assets of $1.12 trillion. As the industry continues to grow, credit unions are able to evolve and experiment with unique marketing and branding initiatives, courtesy of innovative credit union marketing teams (and agencies like The Pod, of course!). Through strategic branding, credit unions are able to embrace their position in local communities while remaining relevant to the global scheme. As you can see, credit unions have come a long way, from German farms 150 years ago, to roughly $1.12 trillion in assets today. So there is plenty cause for celebration, to honor the storied past and look towards the vast possibilities of the future. So throw a party, have a picnic, and pat yourself on the back! You’re part of an industry with vital importance to the local, national, and international communities it serves. The theme of this years International Credit Union Day is “Local Service, Global Good.” You can read more about ICU Day here, and print some cool graphics to spread awareness about the great work your credit union does.And from everyone here at The Pod, Hap-PEA International Credit Union Day!