Friday, 15 October 2010

International Credit Union Day 2010

Thursday 21st October, 2010 will mark International Credit Union Day. Credit unions in Ireland will be sharing the occasion with over 183 million members of 49,330 credit unions around the world. This year’s theme - “Local, Trusted, Serving You.” reflects the core values of the credit union (cooperative spirit emphasising value, trust and service to members ) and is an important message amid Ireland’s current economic crisis.

The ultimate goal of International Credit Union Day is to raise awareness about the great work that credit unions are doing and give members the opportunity to get more involved. Credit unions and associations throughout the world celebrate the day with open houses, contests, picnics and parades.

The theme reminds us that credit unions exist to serve their members, their owners. So as you celebrate this year, keep in mind why credit unions were founded – not for profit, not for charity but for providing high quality and affordable financial services to members.

Since 1948, International Credit Union Day has been celebrated each year on the third Thursday of October to commemorate the credit union’s history and achievements. Ireland’s own Credit Union Movement was started in 1958 by 3 pioneers, Nora Herlihy, Séamus P. Mac Eoin and Sean Forde and has steadily expanded its services to meet the changing needs of members over the past fifty years. The Irish Credit Union Movement is among the most successful in the world with the highest membership per capita and has grown by 40,000 new members this year alone.

This year, under the theme of “Local, Trusted, Serving You.” the strength, stability and uniqueness of the credit union brand will be highlighted.

The Movement has a global penetration of 7.6% across 97 countries. Figures from Ireland in 2009 show that Membership stood at 2.9 million, Savings at 15.1 billion Euro and Assets at 13.4 billion Euro.

Global Credit Union Statistics Figures (USD)
Global Savings 1.146 trillion (USD)
Global Loans 911.8 billion (USD)
Global Reserves 119.7 billion (USD)
Global Assets 1.353 trillion (USD)

We are delighted to celebrate International Credit Union Day, 50 years after the Movement began here in Ireland. Despite financial uncertainty, credit unions have weathered the financial storm but we need to be prudent and responsible in the decisions we make going forward. This will help strengthen the Movement and ensure our continued ability to provide financial services to our members and the wider community.

Because of our members, credit unions are able to play a vital role in the development and financial stability of the communities we serve by providing fair loans and high quality services to our members. Our strength lies in our difference and we are very proud of this fact.

Friday, 8 October 2010

CUSO…Change is in our hands

New challenges and opportunities facing credit unions in a rapidly changing Irish economic and social environment were a key focus of all discussions held at the Irish League of Credit Unions AGM 2010. One such key issue for the future development of credit unions discussed and approved at AGM was the Credit Union Services Organisation (CUSO).

The vision driving CUSO is to enable all credit unions to access the services required to continue to grow and strengthen the Movement.

Immediate benefits to Credit Union Members
Initially a member in the credit union will be able to do the following:
• Send money electronically to anyone who has an account in a credit union with EFT or a bank within Ireland or abroad.
• Receive money electronically directly into their credit union account from anyone who has an account in another credit union with EFT or a bank within Ireland or abroad. E.g. receive salary payments or social welfare payments directly into credit union account.
• Request their credit union to electronically pay bills such as Electricity, Gas, Mobile and Landline by once off payment or direct debit of variable amounts.
• Send/Receive regular payments (standing orders) to anyone who has an account in a credit union with EFT or bank. E.g. every month automatically transfer money to a landlords account for monthly rent.

Immediate benefits to Credit Unions
• Credit Unions can provide members with similar services to those offered by other financial institutions. This will include direct debits and standing orders.
• Credit Unions can arrange to receive payments from employers, Government Departments (e.g. welfare or subsidy payments etc.) and others.
• Loans can be issued electronically. Loan repayments can be received electronically.
• Credit Unions will achieve greater operational efficiencies through automated transactions.

Future benefits
It is anticipated that the future benefits of the Payments CUSO will be:
• Credit Union Debit Cards
• The foundation for fully functional Credit Union Internet Banking
• Transactions through mobile phones.