3Rivers Blog

Discover the Credit Union Difference

Posted on Monday, March 12, 2018

Whoever said banking needed bankers? What if, instead of shareholders, profits were shared equally with the people actually doing the banking? What if, instead of just making the rich richer, we wanted to enrich the communities in which we live? That’s what it means to be a part of a credit union. All of our members are in this together. Communities work best when they work for each other. Cooperation strengthens us all; and when that happens, it turns out we don’t need bankers. We just need better banking.

Discover the credit union difference and find out how much stronger we can be, together.

Want to learn more about the credit union difference? Here are some key points to know!

The Credit Union Difference

Not-for-Profit

Perhaps the most well-known difference between banks and credit unions is that credit unions are not-for-profit. That is, credit unions exist to serve members, not make a profit. Banks have shareholders, often totally unrelated to the bank itself, who make money off of the bank customers. The money that members put into their credit unions is put back into their own pockets (that's how we're able to offer lower rates and fees and higher interest on savings) and the communities in which the credit unions serve. | Read more about not-for-profits.

Lower Rates + Fees

As mentioned above, because credit unions are not-for-profit, they are able to offer lower rates and fees on things like checking accounts and loans, and higher dividends on savings. Plus, services like mobile access, online access, and shared branching are offered to members free of charge. | See our current rates.

Cooperative

In addition - and alongside - to being a not-for-profit, credit unions are cooperatives. A cooperative is an organization owned by - and operated for the benefit of - those using its services. They're based on seven principles, which include: Voluntary & Open Membership, Democratic Member Control, Members' Economic Participation, Autonomy & Independence, Education, Training & Information, Cooperation Among Cooperatives, and Concern for Community. | Read more about cooperatives.

Member-Owned

You've probably picked up by now that credit union's don't have customers - they have members. Whether you've got a standard checking account or a large mortgage loan, you've established yourself as a member and therefore, you own a part of the credit union. What does this mean for you? It means your voice counts. Your opinions, suggestions, and concerns are all taken into consideration. Plus, credit unions have a Board of Directors - members outside of their own employees, chosen democratically - and often have volunteer committees and various other member programs available, too. | Become a 3Rivers member today!

Relationship

Because credit unions are smaller, more local institutions, employees get the opportunity to build real relationships with their members. This is beneficial because the credit union can then take into account more than just credit scores when approving members for loans and other products - they consider relationship history and character to be equally important. In addition, it means there will be more of an effort on the credit union's part to advocate for members' overall financial wellness.

Community

Credit unions' involvement in their communities echoes the fact that they are not-for-profit cooperatives. A community's people, places, events, its past, and its future are paramount to a credit union's goals and existence. Credit unions won't just toss money into a fundraiser or cut a check to sponsor a community event - they'll strive to be there and present to help in any other way possible - volunteering time, energy, and helping hands alongside members of their community. | Find out more about 3Rivers in the community.

Financial Wellness

The credit union industry recognizes that it's not enough to simply approve someone for a first-time car loan or hand over a new credit card. That's why financial education is a key focus. Credit unions go beyond a quick rundown of the product or service from across the front desk. They strive to provide better explanations and details in person, but also utilize other channels - like websites, seminars, tools and calculators, and youth programs - so that their members can comprehend their finances, grow more comfortable with their money matters, and improve their financial health. | See the tools 3Rivers has to offer.

Family

Credit unions love each other. It's in the cooperative nature. That's why many of them offer the Shared Branching network for their members. Shared Branching allows a member of one credit union to travel across the country and do their business at another credit union, or another credit union's ATMs, free of charge. | Find out more about Shared Branching.

So, does your bank do all of that? If you'd like to find out more about the credit union difference or become a credit union member, get in touch with us today!

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