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Today Marks Global Celebration of Credit Unions

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About one million Idahoans are members of a credit union. (
About one million Idahoans are members of a credit union. (
 By Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID - Producer, Contact
October 15, 2020

BOISE, Idaho -- Today is the 72nd annual International Credit Union Day, a celebration of these member-owned financial institutions around the globe.

There are more 85,000 credit unions on six continents.

Steve Stapp, former chairman of the World Council of Credit Unions, said the organizations go to great lengths to serve communities in many parts of the world.

"We have credit unions that are very progressive in what they're doing, and well established and mainstream financial institutions, and we have others that are operating in third-world countries," Stapp outlined. "And perhaps a credit union can even operate out of a shoebox sometimes."

There are more than 5,000 credit unions in the U.S., including 26 in Idaho. The Idaho credit unions have about one million members.

Stapp said credit unions also focus a lot of their energy on responding to natural disasters.

He explained there have been collaborative, global efforts to respond to the pandemic, as well as to hurricanes and to wildfires, both in Australia and on the U.S. West Coast.

"We get funds to our local organizations, or national," Stapp described. "Sometimes it's the American Red Cross, so that we can give financial assistance to help people; one with temporary issues that they may have with housing or with food. And then, next is long-term, to help them rebuild."

The theme for this year's International Credit Union Day is "inspiring hope for a global community." Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives owned by their members.

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