On October 20th, credit unions the length and breadth of Ireland mark International Credit Union Day, sharing the occasion with over 188 million members of 53,000 credit unions around the world. This year’s theme - “Credit Unions Build a Better World” celebrates the important economic and social contributions credit unions make to their communities worldwide. It also aligns cooperatively owned and controlled credit unions with the greater cooperative business sector and the United Nations, which will launch the International Year of Cooperatives 2012 later this year.
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.
The Credit Union Movement has a global penetration of 7.5% across 100 countries.
|Global Credit Union Statistics Figures||Figures (USD)|
|Global Savings||1.229 trillion (USD)|
|Global Loans||960.1 billion (USD)|
|Global Reserves||131.7 billion (USD)|
|Global Assets||1.461 trillion (USD)|
Irish Credit unions are recognised as a force for positive economic and social change and have provided significant value in both developed and emerging nations. The ILCU International Development Foundation (The Foundation) provides financial and technical assistance to support the development of credit unions in our partner countries: Albania, Russia, The Gambia, Ethiopia, Ghana and Sierra Leone.
The work of The Foundation is crucial to the lives of over 500,000 credit union members and their families in these countries. Most people, particularly poor and vulnerable people and those in rural areas, have no access to savings and credit facilities. Credit unions, however, provide opportunities for these people to save money and get loans which help them to help themselves. The support from the Foundation is helping them to improve their quality of life and lift their families out of the poverty trap. This valuable work is only possible thanks to the generous support of Irish credit unions.
At home Irish Credit Unions exist to serve its members, providing not for profit, quality financial services. In the current economic climate, people are looking for more from their financial service providers and the credit union offers something different. The credit union has an ethos of supporting local initiatives, investing in the community by sponsoring/supporting local sports clubs across Ireland. It also continues to support local children by running l art and quiz competitions which have access to national finals. The credit union also engages with the local primary and secondary schools on an ongoing basis. Irish Credit Unions are proud of the role they continue to play in being more than a financial institution but a valuable resource to its community and its people.
Archive Exhibition Launch
To coincide with International Credit Union Day and to mark European Year of the Volunteer 2011, the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) has announced the launch of a new Archive Exhibition which opened at the Oisín Gallery, Westland Row in Dublin. The exhibition was officially opened by John Hume Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Joe Duffy, RTE Presenter and looks back at the last 53 years of credit union history in Ireland.
Founding members of the Irish Movement and their families including John Hume, along with ILCU Board members, credit union volunteers and staff and members today joined RTE’s Joe Duffy in a celebration of its history.
Despite the current challenging times, credit unions in Ireland remain a very popular Movement and more importantly they are an essential part of the country’s social fabric. As Ireland battles the storm of economic crisis, credit unions are still a vital part of Irish communities across the country, offering accessible financial services and an open friendly approach to money management.
In Ireland over 3 million members have recognised the value of credit unions. There are currently over 9,500 active volunteers involved in the movement, and over 4,500 people employed.
The rich history of the Movement means that the fascinating credit union story deserves to be told time and time again. This exhibition will allow credit union members and members of the public an opportunity to explore how a small number of foresighted individuals founded one of Ireland’s must successful cooperatives - the Credit Union Movement. The exhibition takes you on a journey from the Movement’s beginning in 1958 to present day 2011.