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Ever wondered what a credit union is all about? Did you know that you can stand to benefit by joining one? While the concept might be new to you, credit unions actually have been around for more than a century. Today there are nearly 90,000 credit unions in 117 countries serving 260 million Members worldwide. UFCU alone serves more than 307,000 Members in Texas. Is it time for you to embrace the credit union movement? There are so many reasons to join the movement. Here are just four of our favorite reasons behind their appeal.
Concern for Local CommunitiesThe credit union movement can be traced back to the 1850s in Germany, where local residents found themselves with little access to financial services. German resident Franz Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch established the first credit unions there, following the cooperative philosophy of pooling resources from Members to help other Members. Built on the cooperative concept of nonprofit Member ownership, credit unions caught on in the US in the early 1900s.
Today, credit unions like UFCU continue that mission to improve the financial well-being of their communities and the Members they serve. If you have a credit union loan, chances are good that you’re doing some small part to support your local community.
The International Credit Union Association defines a credit union as “a customer/Member owned financial cooperative, democratically controlled by its Members, and operated for the purpose of maximizing the economic benefit of its Members by providing financial services at competitive and fair rates. Members share a common community, occupation, or place of work.”
Member OwnershipThe credit union motto is “not for profit, not for charity, but for service.” As Member-owned cooperatives, credit unions are uniquely focused on delivering service and value to their Members as their top priority. Members determine who will lead the credit union, through their votes in the elections of people who will serve on their boards. Every Member has one vote, regardless of the size of their savings or number of shares in the credit union.
In addition, Members directly benefit from the credit union’s financial performance. Surplus income is often returned to Members — not investors or stockholders — through lower interest rates on loans, higher rates on savings accounts, and the creation of new products and services. As a result, credit union rates usually provide the best deals on credit cards, car and boat loans, mortgages, savings accounts, and more.
Autonomous, Independent CooperativesCredit unions are by nature trustworthy as a self-help organization. They are controlled by their Members. Plus, credit unions have the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). This is the credit union industry’s equivalent of the FDIC. Through the NCUSIF, credit union Members are insured for up to $250,000 per account ownership type (or per Member, not per account number). Not one penny has ever been lost by a Member of a federally insured credit union, and US taxpayers have never had to bail out a federally insured credit union.
Extraordinary Personal ServiceCredit unions are among the most highly rated of all services, according to Consumer Reports surveys. Its data shows that 96 percent of credit union Members are highly satisfied with their credit union service.
At UFCU, we’re dedicated to the well-being of our Members, and committed to providing opportunities for all to grow and learn. Because education is key to the health of our communities, UFCU works to provide ongoing seminars and events that are designed to help Members at every stage of their financial journey. As a Member-owned, Member-driven organization, UFCU is all about helping Members succeed, and we work hard to provide both the financial tools and the educational support to make that happen.