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Credit unions are made up of people in communities working toward a range of financial goals that they have in common. And each year they are brought together in spirit – from all corners of the world – in celebration of International Credit Union Day! 

History of International Credit Union Day

The idea that members of a community would pool their money together to gain an advantage is not a new one and can likely be followed back through many cultures. But the more recent history of credit unions found inspiration in Germany in the mid-1800s. Over the following years, credit unions took root throughout Europe and made their way to North America in the early 1900s.

The inaugural celebration of International Credit Union (ICU) Day took place on the third Thursday of October in 1949. The idea behind the day came from a meeting of the World Council of Credit Unions (WCCU) that took place in 1948 and the purpose was to broaden exposure of people to credit unions, including the benefits to their communities and members they serve around the world.

Over the years, the organizers of International Credit Union Day have provided themes that offer important messaging related to that particular year’s celebration. Past themes have included ideas like, “Credit Unions Unite for Good”, “Local Service, Global Reach”, or “Empower Your Financial Future”.

International Credit Union Day Timeline


Original Credit Union appear in North America 

The People’s Bank of Levis is started in Quebec, Canada through the efforts of Alphonse Dejardins.


First Credit Union established in the US 

St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association is founded in Manchester, New Hampshire, with assistance from Canadian Alphonse Dejardins.


Federal Credit Union Act becomes law 

Following the stock market crash, President Franklin Roosevelt signs this important act into law.


Inaugural International Credit Union Day is celebrated 

This day is founded with the hopes of raising awareness about the benefits while promoting a cooperative philosophy.


Credit Unions are going strong 

By the end of this year, more than 10,300 federally insured credit unions have more than 77 million members.

How to Celebrate International Credit Union Day

Get connected with the community and participate in International Credit Union Day by celebrating with a local branch or on a larger scale. Check out some of these ideas for the day:

Join a Credit Union

Credit unions perform functions that are very similar to banks, except that they are non-profit organizations that are owned by members who are committed to the financial successes of the communities they serve. Some of the reasons to consider joining on International Credit Union Day might be:

  • Often have lower loan rates and higher savings account rates
  • More personalized customer service experiences
  • Excellent option for small borrowers including businesses
  • Most credit unions have a mission for low-income community involvement

Get Free Resources for ICU Day

The website for the World Council of Credit Unions, offers a range of different resources and tools to help in celebration of the day. Parents, teachers and others who are helping kids get educated on money management can access coloring pages, posters and more. Social media helps, logos and other options can be used for those working to implement a marketing plan for the day. 

Attend Community Events

Credit unions in towns and cities all over the world collaborate together in celebration of International Credit Union Day! From hosting local picnics and parades to holding open houses, from fundraisers and contests to volunteering events, every community chooses its own special and unique way to get involved and make a big deal out of this important day. Look into the different local events that might be fun for kids and adults alike to attend.

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