What is a Credit Union?

This is Your Credit Union

Unlike any other financial cooperative, a credit union is owned and controlled by the people it serves. Every credit union is formed in the same way. A group of people want to involve themselves with their own financial destiny, so they pool their money as savings and make low cost loans to each other.

They define themselves in terms of membership whether it be employment, religion, geographic area, some other criterion or combination of them – and make it voluntary membership available to everyone within the definition.

It isn’t practical, though, for all of a credit union’s owners to be involved in every decision. So a small group of members are chosen to guide operations on behalf of their fellow members as a board of directors and as volunteers on other committees. This small group of members is charged with the responsibility of acting in the best interests of all members.

One Member, One Vote

Every credit union operates democratically. In most cases, each member has an equal voice, regardless of the size of his or her account balance or any other factor. This “one member, one vote” practice prevents excessive influence from being concentrated in the hands of a few, and helps ensure that the credit union operates in the best interests of everyone.

Not for Profit, but for Service

Credit Unions are non-profit financial organizations. After meeting normal expenses and the reserve requirements needed to ensure financial stability, a credit union returns all net earnings to their members in one form or another.

Serving the Larger Society

We don’t exist just to provide financial services, but to provide financial services for the purpose of improving lives. While our first responsibility is to our members, being a part of a cooperative movement means looking beyond our walls to the larger community in which we work and reside.

Credit Unions are committed to service and have been since their beginnings in 1850. The credit union concept is a simple one: people working together and pooling their savings can create a valuable credit source not otherwise available to them.

These guiding principles of the early credit union movement are still alive today. Credit Unions may look like banks in many ways, but their primary purpose hasn’t changed since 1850 – service to members. This service means lower loan rates, higher savings rates and lower fees on other products. It is what makes credit unions different and sets them apart from other financial institutions. It is what makes a member more than just a customer – it is people helping people.