Credit unions – the co-operative financial institutions providing affordable credit and savings – are today celebrating International Credit Union Day all around the world.

This year’s theme – Credit Unions Build a Better World – celebrates the important economic and social contributions credit unions make to their communities worldwide.

ICU Day takes place every year on the third Thursday of October and brings together people in 100 countries who work together in 53,000 credit unions to provide affordable financial services to 188 million members. In the UK there are now some 26,000 members and this is likely to grow substantially.

Coincidentally, the Legislative Reform Order that modernises credit union law and allows their growth has passed the Committee stage in the Commons and Lords and should become law soon. This LRO stems from the review of legislation initiated by Ed Balls MP in Government and was introduced shortly before the general election in 2010. Despite pressure by Co-operative MPs, the Coalition delayed the process until earlier this year, and it is welcome news that the much-needed change is finally on its way.

ABCUL, the credit union trade body, have put together the following video about credit unions: