[timed-content-server hide=”October 16, 2014 04:27 PM America/Vancouver”]Stop by your branch today and say hi![/timed-content-server]
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There is one day each year that everybody loves. For some businesses it’s the Christmas shopping season; for others it’s taking off Thanksgiving to spend it with your family; it could be selling out inventory on a busy day or even the day after your year-end paperwork is complete – for us at Integris, it’s the third Thursday in October…International Credit Union Day.
You may ask yourself, what is so special about International Credit Union Day? Credit Unions have a great history within our communities, our province and on an international level as well. We are part of the co-operative movement – we all follow co-operative principles – and this is the one day where we can come together, internationally, to celebrate the greatness we have achieved.
What exactly is a co-operative?
A co-operative is a beautiful thing – it is a group of people acting together to meet the common needs and aspirations of its members, sharing ownership and making decisions democratically.
So what are the co-operative principles exactly?
There are seven principles that every co-operative follows:
- Voluntary and Open Membership – Co-operatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons able to use their services and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
- Democratic Member Control – Co-operatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary co-operatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and co-operatives at other levels are also organized in a democratic manner.
- Member Economic Participation – Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their co-operative. At least part of that capital is usually the common property of the co-operative. Members usually receive limited compensation, if any, on capital subscribed as a condition of membership. Members allocate surpluses for any or all of the following purposes: developing their co-operative, possibly by setting up reserves, part of which at least would be indivisible; benefiting members in proportion to their transactions with the co-operative; and supporting other activities approved by the membership.
- Autonomy and Independence – Co-operatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If they enter to agreements with other organizations, including governments, or raise capital from external sources, they do so on terms that ensure democratic control by their members and maintain their co-operative autonomy.
- Education, Training and Information – Co-operatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their co-operatives. They inform the general public – particularly young people and opinion leaders – about the nature and benefits of co-operation.
- Co-operation among Co-operatives – Co-operatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the co-operative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
- Concern for Community – Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members.
Local Service. Global Good.
This year the theme for International Credit Union Day is: ‘Local Service. Global Good’. Here are some juicy tidbits of information about the local service your credit union is committed to, as well as the global good it is enhancing:
- 208,000,000 members worldwide,
- 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries,
- $37,167,111 donated and 37,268 hours volunteered since 2012 in BC and Ontario,
- In 2013, Integris staff volunteered 4,539 hours of their free time to help out with community events, fundraisers and more (this doesn’t include the paid volunteering that also took place),
- 43 independent credit unions in BC with 371 branches and 565 Ding-Free ATM’s,
- Credit unions have been serving BC since 1939.
- BC credit unions serve 42% of the provincial population with more than 1.9 million members,
- As of August 22, 2014, BC credit unions hold over $60.5 billion in assets,
- There are approximately 8,376 British Columbians employed by BC credit unions,
- Credit unions have had many historical firsts in the banking movement such as being the first Financial Institution to:
- Lend to women in their own names,
- Offer personal loans based on a borrower’s character,
- Offer daily interest savings accounts, open and variable mortgages, and personal lines of credit,
- Create an online banking platform,
- Imagine never having a debit card – credit unions were the first to offer a debit card and a point-of-sale debit payment service.
- Since 2005, Integris has donated over $1.5 million to enhance and strengthen each of our five communities,
- We have sent our staff to Ghana and Mongolia to interact with international credit unions – assisting with training and policy development.
Credit unions take care of each other, our communities, and our members through “co-operative interdependence, a community first mentality, and a volunteer management structure” (WCCU. A History of ICU Day, 2014). How will you celebrate International Credit Union Day?
|Written by Cori Ramsay, BA – Communications Officer|