Credit unions donate record $42.1 million to support communities across

Celebrating International Credit Union Day

TORONTO, Oct. 15 /CNW/ - Canadian credit unions increased their support of community projects to $42.1 million in 2008, up 18 per cent from $35.8 million in 2007, a new survey shows. Credit unions are member-owned financial co-operatives with a strong local focus. In keeping with the credit union philosophy, more than 80 per cent of the donations supported charitable efforts in the local communities where credit unions operate.

Today, under the theme Your Money, Your Choice, Your Credit Union, credit unions are celebrating International Credit Union Day as part of Co-op Week which is celebrated from Oct. 11-17.

In 2008, credit unions provided donations to groups, sponsorships, scholarships, supported charitable foundations and provided free, or reduced-cost, financial services to community groups.

"During the recent tough economic times credit unions have increased their support for local community projects," said David Phillips, president and chief executive officer of Credit Union Central of Canada (Canadian Central). "Every day credit unions help their communities by providing time, money and expertise. These actions flow from the co-operative principles that are at the core of the credit union difference."

The annual survey done for Credit Union Central of Canada, the national trade association for the credit union system, has shown a steady increase in donations over the past eight years since the first survey was done.

The bulk of the assistance in 2008 was in donations and sponsorships - $30.6 million, up from $25.4 million in 2007. Credit unions also provided $4.2 million in financial services to community organizations; $3.1 million in donations-in-kind; $2.9 million in contributions to credit union charitable foundations; and $1.3 million in scholarships.

The survey gathered responses from 325 of the 438 credit unions affiliated with Canadian Central in 2008, representing 96 per cent of the assets in the system. There are currently 427 credit unions affiliated with Canadian Central and they have more than five million members and assets of $117 billion. A copy of the 2009 report Social Responsibility and Canada's Credit Unions can be found

Worldwide there are 186 million members of 54,000 credit unions in 97 countries. Canadian credit unions support their international counterparts with advice and training.

SOURCE Credit Union Central of Canada

For further information: For further information: Veronica Feldcamp, Director, Trade Association Services, Tel: (416) 232-3417, Cell: (416) 434-8777

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