On Oct. 20, credit union members around the world will celebrate International Credit Union Day, an event to commemorate the credit union movement’s impact and achievements. In honor of this special day, several Orange County credit unions invite their members and the community to a few gatherings this week.

“We celebrate this every third week in October,” Jana Achord, CEO of the Firestone Community Federal Credit Union, said. On Friday, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon, Firestone will offer refreshments and goodies for members or anyone who wants to join the credit union.

Sabine Federal Credit Union also celebrates International Credit Union Day annually and will be doing so on Thursday at the branch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that provide an effective and viable alternative to for-profit financial institutions for more than 184 million members in 97 countries worldwide. They exist to serve their members, providing a safe place to save money and access affordable loans.

Since 1948, International Credit Union Day has been celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October. Each year, the international event affords the opportunity to remember credit unions’ proud history and promote awareness of and support for the credit union difference.

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.

Credit unions are recognized as a force for positive economic and social change and have provided significant value in both developed and emerging nations. International Credit Union Day is sponsored by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), the international trade association and development agency for credit unions worldwide, and numerous national credit union trade associations and federations around the world.

In the U.S., credit unions are committed to providing a safe and affordable alternative to predatory payday lenders. Credit unions are always looking for opportunities to bring underserved communities into a mainstream financial institution, providing access to affordable services.

On Oct. 20, credit unions from around the world will be celebrating the day with parades, festivals, contests and open houses.

For more information about events your credit union, visit their website or give them a call.

About Nicole Gibbs

Editor of The Record Newspapers