Thursday, October 18, 2018

International Credit Union Day: Inspired by a People-First Purpose

By: Robert N. Trunzo

Today marks the 70th anniversary of International Credit Union Day (ICU Day), a day to celebrate the history and achievements of the credit union movement.  On this milestone, I'm reflecting on a few things that make the credit union industry unique, and why I’m proud to be part of it.

Giving Back is What We Do
Credit unions provide financial services for the purpose of improving lives, and a core principle of the movement includes supporting the sustainable development of communities.

CUNA Mutual Group was founded on this “people helping people” philosophy, and we take that to heart by giving back in many ways. This year alone, our employees put in more than 13,000 volunteer hours to date and we recently contributed an additional $20 million to our foundation to create a sustainable funding source for many years to come.

I’m extremely proud of our commitment to making a real difference in our communities.

The Power of Cooperation
The spirit of cooperation is another core principle of the credit union movement, and I witnessed this principle in action earlier this year when the Iowa legislature passed the largest tax overhaul in state history. If adopted, the bill would have set a dangerous precedent for the credit union tax status across the nation.

Many of our employees took part in grassroots advocacy efforts to show their support for credit unions. They generated hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls to local representatives, urging lawmakers to protect the credit union tax status. On top of that, many drove several hours to attend events at the state capitol in Des Moines to tell legislators personal stories about their credit union experiences.

Collectively, our voices were critical in having the final Iowa tax bill pass without a tax increase on credit unions.

Positioned for a Bright Future
The credit union philosophy centers on the simple idea of people over profit. As the ICU Day theme points out, that's why credit unions always offer a platinum lining.

At CUNA Mutual Group, we believe credit unions are an outstanding choice for consumers, and that’s why we were one of the first to contribute to Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) nationwide campaign, pledging $1 million to help raise consumer awareness about credit unions and the positive outcomes they help members achieve every day.

By supporting CUNA and the Leagues on this important initiative, CUNA Mutual Group believes we can collectively increase consumer consideration of credit unions and position them for a bright future.

On ICU day and every day, I’m proud to be part of an industry that puts people first and cares about the well-being of its customers.