What is “The Credit Union Difference?”
In October, we celebrate the many things set us apart from banks and predatory alternative financial services. Did you know that credit unions exist all over the world? Cooperative finance may take many forms in different corners of the earth, but the idea is the same across the globe – a credit union’s primary purpose is meeting our member’s needs above all else. We’re about people – people over profits!
Below are just a few features that make credit unions the unique, better choice for banking:
Credit Unions are financial cooperatives
Cooperatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. Credit unions are financial co-ops, adhering to the generally-accepted cooperative principles for running their businesses and serving their memberships.
We’re not-for-profit financial institutions
Simply put, credit unions are here to serve our members – not make a profit off of them. Any profits that are made by credit unions, beyond what is needed to run the business and pay employees, are returned back to members in the form of better dividend rates and lower loan rates, fewer/lower fees, and as new products and services. Credit unions are committed to building relationships with our members, meeting their financial needs, providing superior service, encouraging financial education, and improving our members’ overall financial well-being. Because of the reciprocal relationship between our not-for-profit cooperatives and our memberships, the credit union can only remain strong and viable when our memberships are financially healthy.
Credit unions are owned by our members, not by corporate stockholders. Any person with a share account is a member-owner of the credit union, not just a customer. It doesn’t matter how much money you have deposited or what type of loans you have – all members of the credit union are equal owners of the financial cooperative. We live by “one member, one vote.”
Board members are elected volunteers
Credit unions are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors that are also members, and are elected by the membership. The Board ensures that the credit union is acting in the membership’s best interest and operating in compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations.
There’s a credit union for everyone
Historically, credit unions were formed to serve a specific group of people with a common bond, such as teachers or members of a specific church. Today, there are many credit unions that are open to whole communities defined by city, county, or state. The largest credit union in the world – Navy Federal Credit Union – serves members of every branch of the military and their families, no matter where they live. There is truly a credit union for everyone, it just takes a little research to find the one that could best serve you!
Financial co-op enthusiasts all over the globe celebrate International Credit Union Day on the third Thursday of each year – celebrate ICU Day with us this month on October 20!
We’re happy you’ve chosen us as your trusted financial partner, and thank you for your membership.