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A Special International Credit Union Day Message from Cornerstone CEO Dick Ensweiler
Thursday, October 17, 2013 6:00 AM

October is an exciting month for the credit union movement.  Since 1948, we have celebrated International Credit Union Day on the third Thursday of October, and this year is no exception.

International Credit Union Day is an opportunity for credit unions worldwide to celebrate the unique role we play in our respective communities; reflect upon past achievements, as well as our vision for the future; and promote the credit union concept around the world.

Credit unions provide so much more for their communities than just financial services, and today is a wonderful opportunity for us to share our stories of how we have made a difference. 

In Broken Arrow, Okla., for example, Western Sun created an initiative called “Choose My Wish.” Representatives from charitable organizations and schools had the opportunity to ask for something they needed. One teacher said she desperately needed school supplies for her students. An individual who worked at a local animal shelter needed an ID machine and used computers. The credit union was able to make three wishes come true.  

In Abilene, Texas, employees at Abilene Teachers FCU wanted to get more engaged in the community. So when the opportunity to participate in the Abilene’s March of Dimes March for Babies campaign came along, employees didn’t hesitate to embrace the cause. The credit union is a lead sponsor in this year’s campaign and will most likely well exceed their goal of raising $75,000 for the cause – and this is only their second year in supporting this initiative. The credit union organized their first March of Times Fundraising team in 2012, and thanks to the commitment of staff, they raised more than $23,000 in just two months.

In Little Rock, Ark., George Bujarski, CEO of VA Hospital FCU, took time out of his busy schedule to participate in financial education workshops at McClellan High School. Thanks to Bujarski, high school seniors learned basic, but important financial skills, including how to manage a checking account responsibly.

Whether its reaching out to youth via financial education, helping to solve a social concern in the community, or raising funds for a good cause, credit unions rise to the occasion.

When news spread about the tornado damage in Oklahoma earlier this year, credit unions were quick to respond.  Between credit union, chapter, corporate and individual donations, the credit union movement gave approximately $213,000 to the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Another charitable organization that benefits from credit unions commitment to community is Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).  In 2012, credit unions in the Cornerstone region donated nearly $1.5 million dollars to CMN.  Now that is something to be proud of! 

“Credit Unions Unite for Good: A Better Way.” That is the theme of this year’s International Credit Union Day Celebration and I believe credit unions from across the Cornerstone region, country and abroad prove - through practical application - each day, their commitment to the core philosophy, which our founders set for us more than 150 years ago.  Credit unions recognize the value of collaboration; of sharing ideas, experiences, challenges and solutions. 

I believe that our commitment to this philosophy of ‘people helping people’ is perhaps our greatest strength. We need to celebrate, and appreciate, our cooperative history.  That is what makes us so unique. 

Unfortunately there are those out there who are in fact, threatened by our cooperative nature.  That is why we have to have initiatives such as “Don’t Tax My CU.”

I challenge you to take a stand.  Get involved. Protect the movement that our founders fought so hard to build. 

“Credit Unions Unite for Good: A Better Way.” We are making a difference in the lives of our members and our communities.  From our humble beginnings, we have grown into an international movement with more than 56,000 credit unions in 101 nations around the world, serving the financial needs of 200 million people.  That is certainly worth protecting. 

Happy International Credit Union Day!