ON Thursday, October 17, credit unions in our community and worldwide will come together to celebrate International Credit Union Day (ICU Day) and the role that financial cooperatives play in improving the communities they serve and the lives of their members the world over.

This year’s theme is ‘Local Service, Global Reach’. It speaks to how each credit union serves a local community – and it is because of that local service in communities across the world that we have a global credit union movement that’s now 260million members strong. ICU Day 2019 is a celebration of the impact credit unions and other financial cooperatives have made and continue to make for their members. It is also a chance to be thankful for the lives and communities that have been improved by our movement.

All credit unions share a common goal to offer access to affordable financial services to their members and provide even the most financially disadvantaged the tools and the opportunities to be financially self-sufficient. Making life choices and dreams a reality is the credit union difference that makes a real impact in our world.

Credit unions are unique because they are not-for-profit, democratically controlled, member-owned cooperatives. Credit unions pool their members’ assets to provide low-cost loans and other financial services in the best interest of the members, not to earn shareholder profits. The credit union movement’s cooperative spirit is embraced by members served in more than 89,000 credit unions in 117 countries worldwide.

Stellar member service and democratic control are just some of the many benefits of being a credit union member. That’s as true of Wyvern Savings & Loans here in Poole and Bournemouth as it is in other cooperatively-owned financial institutions from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Credit unions and other financial cooperatives are founded on community service, a principle that has set them apart for more than 150 years.

This year we celebrate 71 years of International Credit Union Day. We hope everyone will join us in celebrating the credit union difference, our proud cooperative heritage and the wonderful opportunities Wyvern Savings & Loans offers it members here in Poole and Bournemouth.

PETER ESTALL, Wyvern volunteer teller, Parkstone Heights, Poole