What is a Credit Union?
A Credit Union is a financial institution that is operated by and for its members. It is a not-for-profit cooperative that has the sole purpose of providing lower cost loans, higher dividends and a range of free or low cost financial services for ALL of its members.
Members of a Credit Union pool their financial assets together to provide the membership with loans and other financial services. Rather than generating profits for "stockholders," as banks and savings banks do, a credit union's functionality is determined by the very people who entrust their financial needs in the institution.
In order to assure each member has an equal share in Trico credit union, each member contributes $10 to the credit union pool. This provides each member with one vote. Votes come into play when electing board members and suggesting changes.
Top 10 Reasons You Need a Credit Union
Credit unions were created 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, but our "people helping people" philosophy is still thriving—and our members are still saving money.
While there are many reasons why you need a credit union, here are our top ten:
- 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.
- You become part-owner of your credit union. Each member of a credit union has an equal share and an equal vote. You have the ability to direct policy to help meet the needs of the membership.
- 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.
- Credit unions are not-for-profit. With no stockholders waiting for their share of the profit, credit unions are able to return earnings to you through better rates, lower fees and improved services.
- We're democratic. Credit unions are the only democratically controlled financial institutions in the US. Members elect an unpaid volunteer board of directors to oversee the credit union's operations and represent their best interests. A bank's board typically makes decisions that benefit stockholders, not their customers.
- 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. Most offer workshops to members as well as programs for students and the community.
- We cater to the individual. Credit union members comprise unique fields of memberships through work or social groups, organizational affiliation, church or a community. Credit unions are able to serve the unique needs of these various groups with specialized loans and savings programs not found at a typical bank.
In addition to these benefits, most credit unions, such as Trico Community FCU, operate as full-service financial institutions, offering their members the same services as banks, but without as many fees. So consider Trico for all your financial needs—you've got a lot to gain.