NEW YORK CITY (11/2/11)--In an effort coordinated with the UN General Assembly's declaration of 2012 as International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions Tuesday launched a year-long campaign to highlight the long history of cooperatives in New York City, the myriad contributions of cooperatives to the local economy, and to promote cooperatives to consumers across the five boroughs.
Addressing the event billed as "New York: Building a Cooperative City," Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney said, "It is an uplifting experience to celebrate the International Year of Cooperatives at the United National and here at this event in New York City."
Cheney, who thanked the Ford Foundation for its support of the federation's event celebrating cooperatives—support which included hosting the event at its headquarters--underscored that the year of cooperatives was just beginning, and added, "We have much work to do."
"It was great to hear all the support for cooperatives from around the world," Cheney said, referring to the Monday UN General Assembly session at which representatives of 19 countries--including the U.S.--rose to voice support for cooperatives.
CUNA, he noted, has been closely involved with the National Cooperative Business Association and the International Cooperative Alliance as plans moved forward to celebrate IYC. He added that CUNA looks forward to cooperatives working together throughout the year, and remarked that cooperation among
cooperatives is a key principle of the cooperative movement.
What better time to showcase the cooperative spirit, he asked, than "during this special year."
Cheney noted that the current consumer emphasis that those tired of big banks' high fees should move their accounts to a credit union for a fairer deal has highlighted the fact that credit unions, as cooperatives, have their members' best interests at heart.
"We are on the cusp of Bank Transfer Day," he said. Cheney noted that tens of thousands of consumers have opened new accounts with credit unions in recent weeks and that more are planning to do so on Saturday, designated Bank Transfer Day by its consumer organizer.
The federation noted that its meeting was the first-ever such convening of New York City cooperatives across sectors: credit unions; food, housing, and worker co-ops; and others. Federation CEO Cliff Rosenthal said, "The interest we've seen from credit unions and other cooperatives here in New York has been very encouraging." He added,"What better way to promote our vibrant movement than by linking cooperatives of all types with their financial counterparts. In doing so we strengthen or common bond, spread our message of cooperation and build avenues for long-term credit union growth."
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn used her address to attendees to unveil a proclamation declaring Tuesday as Cooperative Day in all five boroughs of New York City.
In addition to remarks by Rosenthal, others addressing "New York: Building a Cooperative City" included:
- Steve Ryerson, vice president with United Nations FCU;
- Charles Gould, director general of the International Cooperative Alliance;
- International Co-operative Alliance President Dame Pauline Green;
- National Consumer Cooperative Bank President/CEO Charles E. Snyder; and
- National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors CEO Mary Martha Fortney.