Credit Unions Unite for Good

On October 17, 2013, credit unions in 100 countries will celebrate International Credit Union (ICU) Day® by joining together and celebrating their cooperative spirit.

Unlike many banks, we at Hopewell Federal Credit Union are not in business to make a profit. Credit unions all over the world are a united front focused on you, the members, with an unwavering belief in the “people helping people” philosophy upon which we were built.

In the U.S., we’re known as credit unions, but across the world, we go by many names…co-operative societies, cooperativas, and caisses populaires to name a few.

This year, the cooperative spirit is coming to the Falkland Islands. Currently, one bank branch operates there, but the 2,300 workers find access to credit limited. Through the World Council of Credit Unions, staff from a U.S. credit union are assisting in the development of a credit union that can help the businesses that were refused bank financing.

Sometimes, starting a credit union isn’t enough. In Kenya, more than a million children have lost parents to AIDS. Many U.S. credit unions are supporting an orphanage in the town of Busia. The program provides food and security to these orphans, as well as financial access to the surrounding community.

Off the southern coast of India, women rice farmers in Sri Lanka are recovering from devastating floods in 2011 and growing their businesses with the help of both farming and financial training through a joint agribusiness and credit union program. Profits are up and so are savings thanks to a new infrastructure to safeguard deposits. Now, small branches collect savings through children’s clubs and school programs. In one district, volunteer members hike daily to the local market to collect deposits.

Here too, in the U.S., credit unions are looking after their members.

One small credit union, made up only of descendants of Manley and Lucy Williams, is helping members buy new cars, raise families, and pay for college. Credit unions often think of their members as family, and in this case they literally are.

Whether on a small or large scale, doing good is something credit unions take seriously. Some large credit unions are able to pull together funding from millions of members to improve housing, healthcare, and education in local communities and the world. Be it in the form of scholarships or interest-free loans, it’s still people helping people.

Here at Hopewell Federal our key initiatives in 2013 include providing a scholarship to a deserving student, supporting the Food Pantry Network of Licking County, running a United Way campaign and hosting our annual car show to support the Licking County Humane Society.

The credit union movement is a united force based on camaraderie, cooperation, and collaboration. That’s why, at a credit union, you are never a number — you are a member, and we are here to serve you.

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