Since 1948, on the third Thursday in October, credit unions have celebrated the principles that make them the best financial partners of people all over the world. International Credit Union Day is an opportunity to remember our proud history and promote awareness of the credit union difference.
This year’s theme, “The Authentic Difference,” zeroes in on what makes credit unions different from banks, fintech startups and other financial institutions – our principles. Credit unions worldwide have operated according to the same values since the 1850s, when a group of weary German workers, tired of being exploited by loan sharks, formed the world’s first credit union by banding together to provide affordable credit to each other.
These values are derived from the 7 principles shared by all cooperatives. They are:
- Open & Voluntary Membership – Members are connected by a bond of association, fostering a sense of community.
- Democratic Control – One member = One vote. Whether you have $5 or $5 million, your voice is equal.
- Economic Participation – Members are the owners, and recognize benefits in proportion to the extent of their financial transactions and general usage.
- Autonomy & Independence – Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by members.
- Education, Training & Information – Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of the cooperative.
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives – Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, state, regional, national, and international structures.
- Concern for Community – While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities, including people of modest means, through policies developed and accepted by the members.
Orion is one of more than 57,000 credit unions in the world serving 217 million members! Whether our members are rich or poor, from villages or cities, in communities at peace or in conflict, credit unions are helping them to create new opportunities every day. With access to a safe, convenient place to save their money and secure affordable loans, members from all walks of life are able to create new opportunities for themselves, including starting micro-businesses, building homes and educating their children.
Come join us this Thursday as we celebrate at each of our branches. Refreshments will be served in each lobby -we hope to see you there!