International Credit Union Day 2022


Thursday, October 20 is the 74th annual International Credit Union Day®! Each year, we come together to celebrate ICU Day to raise awareness about what it means for members around the world to have a not-for-profit financial cooperative as their financial partner. This year, we gather as a global movement under the theme “Empower Your Financial Future with a Credit Union™.”

At Cutting Edge, this means we are committed to providing our members with the education, financial expertise, accessible tools & resources, and affordable products and services to EMPOWER your financial futures and reach your financial goals! It’s just the way we do business – with a social purpose. This is what we mean when we say “people helping people” is the credit union mantra.

Ways to celebrate ICU Day 2022

  • Stop into a branch on Thursday, October 20 to sample some international treats from a sampling of countries who celebrate credit unions!
  • Check out this short ICU Day 2022 “Empower Your Financial Future with a Credit Union™” video from the Credit Union National Association.

  • Enjoy International Credit Union Day at home by printing and getting creative with this cool coloring page!
  • Take a listen and get inspired by The World Council of Credit Union’s podcast episode highlighting some incredible member stories of a credit union’s impact on their lives



A brief history of International Credit Union Day from the World Council of Credit Unions

Credit Unions: A History of Community and Ownership

This is the story of an idea. A simple idea: that people could pool their money and make loans to each other.

It’s the credit union idea, and it evolved from the cooperative activities of early 19th century Europe. The first of these cooperatives was an 1844 marketing cooperative organized by a group of workers in Rochdale, England. That same year in Germany, Victor Aime Huber began developing and publicizing some of the early European cooperative theories. The idea of credit societies was a part of this effort.

Credit Societies: The Birth of Credit Unions

Moved by the crop failure and famine that had devastated Germany in 1846–1847, Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch and Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen created the first true credit unions in the mid-19th century. After organizing a cooperatively owned mill and bakery, Schulze-Delitzsch founded the first “people’s bank” in 1852 to provide credit to entrepreneurs in the city. Raiffeisen had established a credit society in Flammersfeld, Germany in 1849 that depended on the charity of wealthy men for its support. He remained committed to that concept until 1864, when he organized a new credit union for farmers along the principles of cooperative interdependence, a community-first mentality and a volunteer management structure that are still fundamental today.

The credit societies in Germany, and similar institutions founded by Luigi Luzzatti in Italy, were the forerunners of the large cooperative “banks” which abound in Europe today.

The Idea Goes West

Over the years, credit unions spread to communities around the world. In the early 1900s Alphonse and Dorimene Desjardins started a credit union (caisse populaire) in Lévis, Quebec. Shortly thereafter, Alphonse, along with Americans Edward A. Filene and Roy F. Bergengren, helped establish credit unions in the United States.

In 1908, Monsignor Pierre Hevey, Pastor of Sainte-Marie’s parish in Manchester, New Hampshire, organized what was soon to be known as the first credit union. The goal was to help the primarily Franco-American mill workers save and borrow money. On November 24, 1908 they officially opened their doors as “La Caisse Populaire, Ste-Marie” (The People’s Bank) and became the first credit union in the nation.

The First Credit Union Day

As time passed, a desire emerged to establish an annual occasion to acknowledge both the credit unions’ important role in creating opportunity for their members and communities and the achievements of pioneers who laid the foundation for ongoing credit union success.

On January 17, 1927, the Credit Union League of Massachusetts celebrated the first official holiday for credit union members and workers. They selected January 17 because it was the birthday of America’s “Apostle of Thrift,” Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), who early credit union founders believed symbolized “the life and teaching embodied in the spirit and purpose of credit unions.”

Ironically, rapid growth within the North American credit union movement meant that people were either too busy to celebrate or too new to the movement to recognize the significance of the celebration. After a brief trial period, Credit Union Day quietly disappeared.

Where and How We Celebrate Today

Members around the world celebrate this special day in a number of ways. Some sponsor open houses, picnics, fairs, festivals and parades; others hold athletic competitions and essay or art contests for young members. Public gatherings with visiting dignitaries have effectively attracted media attention and public involvement, as have educational and public service events.

As your credit union joins in this unique and exciting celebration, remember that you are joined by more than 375 million members in 118 countries, across six continents who also recognize and celebrate the credit union difference!