ICU Day: Pay it Forward

Imagine you’re in line at a grocery store, reaching into your wallet. Or you’re pulling up to the gas pump. Or you’re getting ready to pay for your family’s dinner at a local restaurant, wrestling your purse back from your toddler.

And then a stranger hands you a stack of cash containing over $100, no strings attached. “This is what credit unions save their members every year,” she says. “Today we’re paying it forward.”

The vision for International Credit Union Day October 16 — is that Northwest credit unions will pay it forward into their communities, offering stacks of cash to strangers and sharing the credit union difference.

In Washington and Oregon, credit unions save member households an average of $114 every year in fees and interest rates. That number is direct evidence of the credit union difference.

It can be hard to explain to people what a credit union is and how a cooperative financial institution is different from a bank. Even getting their attention in the first place can be tough.

When you help people financially, that difference becomes tangible. And you can bet you’ll have their attention.

Picture paying it forward…

  • At the grocery store. Step in just before a customer pays.
  • At the gas station. Walk up just as a customer stops at the pump.
  • At a restaurant. Step in just after the waiter brings the bill.
  • At the bus stop. Make someone’s day while waiting for the bus.
  • At a transitional home. Help someone dress for success with some new clothes.
  • At school. Help a teacher get the supplies she needs.

At Amplify Convention, the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) will demonstrate the power of this idea by paying it forward to randomly selected attendees from our partner credit unions. The program will be launched from the stage at Amplify during the Wednesday, October 8 afternoon General Session.

“Before International Credit Union Day we’ll offer our members some helpful resources to make paying it forward as easy and impactful as possible. A toolkit will be distributed to credit union marketers the week of September 29,” said Lynn Heider, vice president of public relations and communications.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790,

Posted in Events.