Other financial institutions focus on money. From the
start, credit unions have focused on people, dreams and results.
The difference is manifest in four key ways: how credit
unions are governed, how they define their purpose, the benefits they
offer their members and the values they bring to their communities.
To serve members
The most important responsibility of credit unions is
promoting the financial success of their members. While maximizing
profits for shareholders drives other financial institutions, credit
unions are not-for-profit. The money they make does not pay dividends to
stockholders. It is invested in members.
Volunteer directors elected by members
Credit unions are locally owned and their boards of
directors are elected by members. Decisions about the organization,
direction, programs and policies that govern credit unions are driven by
the benefits they provide to members" the people who are saving to buy a
first home, finance a child's education or make a new car purchase.
Credit union boards are made up of volunteers who understand member
needs and focus on ways to meet those needs. Conversely, other financial
institutions answer to shareholders, so their bottom line is maximizing
Earnings invested in the members and
Money that is made by a credit union is invested in
member benefits in the form of higher interest rates on savings and
lower interest rates on loans. That means retirees have larger nest eggs
and workers can afford to buy the home of their dreams. Viewed as
unprofitable by other financial institutions, small businesses and
self-employed individuals thrive with credit unions. Lower and middle
income members are treated with the same consideration and respect as
wealthier members.And through initiatives like REAL Solutions, credit unions
are reaching out to growing numbers of new Americans and those who can't
get the financial help they need from other institutions. Credit unions
not only offer better rates on savings and lower fees on loans, they
also provide valuable information and free financial counseling -
not to make a profit for the organization but to benefit members.
In people, not profits
Credit unions bring financial benefits to the community.
By focusing their resources on helping members realize their financial
goals and build secure futures, credit unions strengthen their
communities. Moreover, because they are locally owned and managed, they
are vested in and are committed to making significant contributions to
the local area.
Taken together, these qualities add up to a single focus
and a solid commitment to credit union members and to their financial
success. Without that commitment, Wisconsin and its people would have
fewer opportunities. More families would be frozen out of the housing
market because they were unable to meet the profit demands of other
financial institutions. More small businesses and self-employed
individuals would be turned down for loans that would help them grow and
prosper. The more than 2 million individuals and their families who have
joined a Wisconsin credit union have an ally that is dedicated to their
financial future, whose expertise is available to help make their dreams
realities and whose purpose is to advance members' interests. People who
are simply account numbers and income streams at other financial
institutions are the bottom line for credit unions.
The values of credit unions reflect the values of their
members. That's good for hard working people who dream of a better
future.That's good for people running small businesses that need a
helping hand to reach their potential. That's good for communities that
are stronger when individuals and families are able to build a better
quality of life.