Credit unions were developed more than one hundred years ago to offer everyday people a low-cost alternative to banks. When money was hard to come by, individuals began pooling their money together to make loans to one another. Thus, the credit union movement was born. Today, credit unions have evolved into full-service financial institutions, and our members are still saving money. There are many reasons why you need a credit union, here are our top ten:
- Ownership. Each credit union member has equal ownership and one vote—regardless of how much money a member has on deposit. At a credit union, every customer is both a member and an owner.
- Not-for-profit. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. We exist to serve our members, not to make a profit. Unlike most other financial institutions, credit unions do not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders. Instead, earnings are returned to our members in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest on deposits and lower fees.
- Taxation. Credit unions do pay taxes – payroll taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes. Congress exempts credit unions from federal income taxes. The exemption was established in 1937, affirmed by statute in 1951, and re-affirmed in 1998 in H.R. 1151, the Credit Union Membership Access Act, which states:
“Credit Unions, unlike many other participants in the financial services market, are exempt from Federal and most State taxes because credit unions are member-owned, democratically operated, not-for-profit organizations generally managed by volunteer Boards of Directors and because they have the specified mission of meeting the credit and savings needs of consumers, especially persons of modest means.”
- Volunteer Boards. Each credit union is governed by a Board of Directors, elected by and from the credit union’s membership. Board members serve voluntarily.
- Service is our first priority. The credit union motto is, “Not for profit, not for charity, but for service.” According to a recent study by the Credit Union National Association, credit unions nationwide have ranked number one in consumer satisfaction for 21 years in a row.
- We’re a financial cooperative. As a financial cooperative, you pool your money with other members to make loans and pay dividends to one another. By opening savings accounts and getting loans, you make the credit union stronger and better able to improve services.
- We’ve got lower fees. Most bank fees account for nearly one-third of their profit. Being credit unions are founded on the philosophy of “people helping people,” they strive to avoid feeing members for services when possible.
- You’ll get competitive rates. Low loan rates and high dividend rates are commonplace at credit unions. That’s because we’re not here to make a profit, we’re here to serve our members.
- You will save money. The Credit Union National Association estimates that credit union members save around $8 billion per year over their banking counterparts through better interest rates and reduced fees.
- We believe in financial education. With a strong tradition of member education, credit unions strive to help members become more financially literate and independent.
In addition to these benefits, most credit unions, such as MMFCU, operate as full-service financial institutions, offering their members the same services as banks, but without as many fees. So consider MMFCU for all your financial needs—You’ve got a lot to gain!