Credit Unions, Where Everyone Counts

By: Co+op

Credit unions are financial institutions founded on the idea that people are worth more than money. Like conventional banks, credit unions offer services for savings and lending. Unlike a bank, a credit union is a cooperative, owned and controlled by its members. Decisions about what to do with the money are not made by far-away shareholders but by people in local communities. Like many cooperative communities worldwide, credit union members enjoy the benefits of both economic and social capital.

Customers, big and small, are well served at the credit union, not just those with means. In fact, that’s why credit unions got started over a hundred years ago. Some places, especially small towns, were frequently considered “unbankable” because the people living in them had limited resources. Credit unions gave them credit at competitive rates and promoted saving among members to leverage what they had together.

A credit union is also committed to helping members improve their financial condition, plan for the future and offer options for sustaining their wealth and resources. Credit unions are responsible to their communities, and that’s refreshing. Casey Carlson, vice president of marketing at SPIRE Federal Credit Union in St. Paul, Minn. said, “Our core purpose is the financial wellbeing of our members, and all decisions we make are based on this.” That’s good news when it comes to financial institutions helping customers in ways that serve their best interests.

According to Carlson, credit unions are a necessary and extremely popular alternative, as 104 million credit union members in the U.S. can attest.

Credit unions exist to foster community growth. With over $1 trillion dollars in assets nationwide, credit unions use their resources to help members organize, expand and improve the economic and social development of all people by getting involved in community activities and worthwhile causes. This people-first philosophy is carried out in places around the world through local credit unions.

Lots of people love their credit unions because of the fast, friendly service. Most credit unions are open to anyone who lives or works in the area where one is located. And your money is safe at the credit union. According to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), not one penny of insured savings has ever been lost by a member of a federally insured credit union. To find a credit union in your area, go to find a credit union.