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Celebrate International Credit Union Day With Us

By: American Heritage10.19.23
Senior woman and home caregiver together in kitchen

Join your fellow members of American Heritage Credit Union on Thursday, October 19, 2023, as we celebrate International Credit Union Day and a major milestone.


What Is International Credit Union Day?

International Credit Union Day (ICU Day) is a chance to highlight the accomplishments and aspirations of the worldwide cooperative banking revolution. Held annually since 1948, this is a banner year.

Says Megan Crowson of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), “Celebrating the 75th anniversary of ICU Day underlines the resilience and dedication of the credit union movement. We are proud to reflect on our collective achievements and engage with our members around the world.”

This year’s event will be a collaboration between CUNA, the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), corporate sponsor Elan Credit Card, and credit unions everywhere—including ours.

Bruce K. Foulke, CEO of American Heritage Credit Union, adds, “ICU Day 2023 is especially significant for us because American Heritage is also celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It’s been a great honor to serve generation after generation in our communities and to join in a more far-reaching force for good. To all our members: thank you for being part of our Credit Union family!”


What Makes Credit Unions So Special?

A credit union is defined as a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative that accepts deposits, gives loans, and offers all the other essential services you’d expect from a traditional bank. But what does that really mean?

Being a member of a credit union means having a say in how the institution is run and having revenues returned to you in the form of higher savings rates and lower fees. As a member of the local community, it means seeing more resources reinvested in the people, spaces, and causes that make your hometown a great place to live and work. And as a member of the global community, it means knowing that historically underbanked populations in 118+ nations are getting access to safe and affordable financial solutions.

Simply put, credit unions exist to empower everyone, and we think you’ll agree that’s a legacy and mission worth celebrating!


Meet Some Key Figures

Over the last two centuries, credit unions have evolved from small neighborhood initiatives into high-tech, full-service financial institutions serving nearly half a billion people around the globe. Through all that growth, we’ve never forgotten our roots or our foundational principle of “people helping people.” Here are just a few of the numerous pioneers of the international credit union movement:


  • Ninomiya Sontoku, a Japanese agriculturalist who developed a form of cooperative financing around 1814 that is seen as a forerunner of the credit union model

  • Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch, who was responsible for organizing the world’s first full-fledged credit unions in Germany, which grew in number to over 200 by 1860

  • Alphonse Desjardins, who brought the credit union model to North America in 1900 with the formation of the first caisses populaires in the Province of Quebec

  • Theodor Amstad, a Swiss-born Jesuit priest who crossed the vast grasslands of Brazil on the back of a mule to establish the continent’s first credit union in 1902

  • Edward A. Filene, dubbed the Father of U.S. Credit Unions for his role in founding the nation’s first member-owned cooperative in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1908

  • Thomas B. Patterson, who brought 22 crop-lien farmers together in 1918 to form the first credit union for African Americans: the Piedmont Credit Union of Landis

  • Louise McCarren Herring, known as the Mother of Credit Unions for her hand in launching over 500 nonprofit financial institutions, starting at age 23 in 1932

  • Elsie MacLeod, founder of the world’s first all-female credit union in 1941, decades before women won the right to obtain bank loans without a male cosigner

  • Basil Lewis, who joined together with other British Jamaicans who were unable to secure bank loans to establish England’s first registered credit union in 1964

  • Buddy Gill, the chief strategist of the Credit Union Campaign for Consumer Choice that expanded access to credit unions for millions of Americans in 1998


Making the Most of Your Membership

ICU Day is a great opportunity to review your membership benefits and ensure that you’re taking full advantage of everything that American Heritage has to offer, like:

  • Live service from anywhere with Video Advisor Network Associates (VANA)
  • Home equity borrowing solutions with affordable rates and flexible terms
  • Premium dividends on certificates and individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • Free seminars on homebuying, portfolio diversification, debt, and more
  • Exclusive rates on quality auto, home, health, and life insurance coverage
  • In-branch assistance at 5,300+ partnering credit unions from coast to coast
  • Discounted tickets and concessions at Phillies, 76ers, and Flyers games


Questions? Concerns? Just want to sing “Happy 75th Birthday” to us and credit unions worldwide? Call our friendly local team at 215.969.0777 (or 800.815.2448 after hours).



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