…That 2012 is the International Year of the Cooperative?
…That the third week in October is International Credit Union Week?
…The third Thursday in October is International Credit Union Day?
International Credit Union Day was celebrated this year on October 18 – by more than 196 million members (!) at over 155,000 credit unions (!) in more than 100 countries!
It’s hard to believe, but unless you’re involved in the credit union movement, you may have missed this important news.
In the industry, we refer to the credit union “movement” because the democratic, member-owned structure of our institutions allows us to invest and give back to our communities in ways that most other businesses just can’t.
At their most basic, credit unions are:
- Member Owned
- Not for Profit
- Democratically controlled
- Financial Institutions
We operate in the same space as the banks, of course, and most credit unions offer pretty much the same products and services as a bank. BUT – with lower fees, lower mortgage and loan costs and generally better returns on savings and fixed investments.
How can we do that? It is a fundamentally different business model:
Banks are structured to raise money by appealing to investors who expect a return on their investment. Bankers are beholden to their investors and must return a profit. That’s why they exist.
A credit union, on the other hand, is owned by its members. So, while there is a need to make profits to make sure the credit union is self-sustaining, there isn’t the pressure to squeeze as much profit as possible from every transaction just to satisfy the appetite of shareholders for better returns.
Instead, credit unions reinvest profits in the communities they serve and into making sure people’s banking needs are taken care of.
So credit unions can:
- Reach out to underserved markets right here at home
- Offer non-traditional products that help people learn to manage their money properly
- Provide financial literacy classes and programs for our members and our community
- Work with local companies to make sure their employees have access to convenient, affordable financial services
- Consider character as well as credit scores when making lending decisions
- Donate time, service and dollars to events and organizations that positively impact our members’ everyday lives
At Mid-Illini Credit Union, we’re proud to offer these services to our members and our community every day. Since 1940, we’ve been helping McLean County families build strong financial foundations. In the end, it’s the people we can help, not the profit we can make that drive our actions. Members matter most – that’s the philosophy that we live and breathe every day.
So while we’ve had fun offering sweets, treats and giveaways this week to show our members how much we appreciate their business, the fact is that in the end, it really is the people we can help every day that drive our actions. Members matter most EVERY day at MICU.
So, to our members: we know that you have a choice about where to do your banking. We thank you for choosing MICU. And we appreciate your business.