Today, October 21, 2010, the International Day of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Credit Unions) is celebrated. These nonprofit financial institutions not only offer the same services as banks, but they also have a social element of reinvestment in the community, financial training, community-economic development and, in most cases, better customer service. Congratulations to the 186 million cooperatives that operate worldwide. Read here a little more about the cooperatives:
What is a CAC?
Around the world, credit unions offer their members much more than financial services. They give them the opportunity to own their own financial institution and help them create opportunities such as starting a new business, building a house for their families and educating their children. In some countries, partners test for the first time the taste of democratic decision making in their credit unions.
Savings and credit cooperatives are democratic financial cooperatives owned by members
As financial intermediaries, savings and credit cooperatives finance their loan portfolios by mobilizing member savings and deposits rather than using external capital, thereby offering opportunities to many generations of members. Each member, regardless of the size of their account in the credit union, can run for the council and cast a vote in the elections.
Savings and credit cooperatives exist to serve their members and communities
As non-profit cooperative institutions, savings and credit cooperatives use their surplus income to offer members more accessible credits, higher returns on their savings, lower commissions or new products and services. They serve members of all socioeconomic levels, including the poor and all those deprived of rights.
Credit unions are safe, practical places that allow access to accessible financial services
Credit unions offer a whole range of financial services, giving members more flexibility to meet their individual needs. In some countries, credit unions are known by different names that best express these services. For example, in Afghanistan, savings and credit cooperatives are referred to as “ Islamic investment and finance cooperatives ” (IIFCs) in adherence to Islamic practices related to loans; in Africa, they are known as “ savings and credit co-operative societies” (SACCOs) to emphasize savings before credit.