A credit union is an alternative to a traditional bank for individuals to make deposits, seek loans, and other things that most financial institutions offer. They provide budget counseling services, and some offer insurance and investment products. In addition to providing quality financial services, these businesses are usually heavily invested in the local community.
A credit union is owned by its members, who all have an equal voting share simply by having a deposit account. It doesn’t matter how many accounts a person has or how much money is in those accounts. By being a member, you get a vote. Also, these types of institutions are non-profit, so their bottom line is running a sound business that is satisfying to its members. It’s not always about turning a profit at the end of the quarter. Part of satisfying customers is showing them that they mean more to you than just a deposit account or loan interest. That means being a part of their lives, and community, outside of the financial transactions.
Involvement in the community may include:
Fundraisers for Local Causes
Your local community may have special events for a children’s hospital, women’s shelter, kid’s camp, or for medical conditions such as cancer or multiple sclerosis. The credit union will likely help pay for some of the costs associated with the event, and staff may also volunteer to help work the event. The institution will also be glad to set up a special fund to make it easy for people to contribute to the cause.
Supporting the future of the community is important, too. Many institutions offer scholarships to high school students who are planning on going to college. Your credit union may also offer financial assistance to students in the form of loans or special deposit accounts designed for their lifestyle and needs.
Sponsoring Children’s Sports Teams
Your community probably has t-ball, soccer, basketball and more for children. A credit union may be a proud sponsor of one or more teams in the area, so they provide the equipment and uniforms they need to participate.
Contributing to Community Events
If your town has a soup kitchen or other place that provides food for the hungry, you may see the credit union staff volunteering for a shift or two during busy times.
Partnering with an institution that cares about the community means a lot. Besides some of the financial benefits, that’s a big reason why many people choose to do their banking with a credit union instead of a more traditional service. They are with you for the long term.