Even though a third of the country deals with a credit union, it is not difficult to argue that credit unions remain one of the best-kept secrets in the financial services industry. Fortunately, the secret seems to be getting out.
A key reason why credit unions continue to see sustained growth in membership year in, year out, is that they provide significant benefits to everyday people that cannot be achieved from banks:
- Improve Lives Credit unions exist to improve peoples' lives, not to generate profits for shareholders. They are democratic, autonomous organizations that invest in and drive economic benefits in the communities in which their members work, live, and play. Their common mission is to improve the financial well-being of their members and their communities.
- Live by Principles. Credit unions tend to live by the seven cooperative principles for credit unions which leads to values-based, member-centric focus. People increasingly want the businesses they deal with to be moral and to foster good in their communities. Credit unions have been using their innovative business model as a force for good for a very long time.
- Access Economy. Although the sharing or access economy and peer-to-peer business models are all the rage today, Filene has it right that credit unions were about one hundred years or so ahead of their time in introducing these financial innovations: Credit unions were onto this "new" trend in the finance world in the 1800s...Credit unions have continued in a member-to-member, collaborative financial model that is, in light of the access economy we see today, extremely farsighted."
- Better Service, Better Rates. On top of the significant benefits noted above, credit unions tend to offer better service, significantly better interest rates on savings and loans, and lower fees than their banking competitors, all the while offering the same level of savings account protection of the banks.
If you are a current credit union member, congratulations. If you are not, don't you owe it to yourself to look into how credit union membership can help improve your financial well-being and that of your community? We might know a great one for you to consider!