Don’t forget to read our other posts in this series!
Thinking of pulling your money from your bank and stuffing it under your mattress? The idea doesn’t seem as irrational and silly as it might have once. If you follow any kind of news and media, it must seem as if another story of corruption in the banking industry breaks every few months. Bank corruption stirs up many emotions in the American consciousness, but the paramount emotion is probably “distrust”.
Many account holders at banks feel like spectators from a distance, watching helplessly as banks make decisions that influence their daily financial lives. But like most audiences, bank account holders can only ever see what is taking place on stage, often oblivious to what is going on behind the curtain.
This is not the case with credit unions. They follow a cooperative model. So when you’re a member of a credit union, you’re not like another audience member waiting for the curtain to rise. You’re a participant. You get to have your own costume and your own lines to read. You have an unrestrained backstage pass.
Finger Lakes FCU follows the “membership management
” model of providing financial service to members. With this model, FLFCU looks at members for what they are: an individual. We value those individuals as co-owners of our Credit Union. We discussed co-ownership when we discussed Democratic Control
, but being a co-owner of a credit union gives you more than just voting rights. Co-ownership also benefits members financially, as the Credit Union pours profits into lending services and ensuring that fair rate of interest is paid on savings and deposits.
This is why Finger Lakes FCU values financial education, and why we are so concerned in building your personal financial strength. The stronger our members, the stronger the credit union’s products and services.
This distribution works both ways, because as FLFCU grows, the surplus can then be distributed back to the members in terms of low-interest rates on new loans, high dividends on savings accounts, a greater variety of draft and savings products, and more. Only together can we achieve a prosperous future.
So what happens when a financial institution operates within a model of service over profit? The economic and social well-being of all members within that financial institution improves. When an individual isn’t able to trust their bank to operate in a way that is both fair and beneficial to that individual and their family, that individual may be made to feel that their financial future is out of their control.
When there is trust and understanding between you and your financial institution, you experience peace of mind and confidence. You become self-assured that you and you alone are in control of your finances, you are empowered to turn to your financial institution for assistance and support, and you become poised to make better financial decisions for your family.
There is a difference
between offering a not-for-profit service to families and individuals just like you, and charging people excessive interest and fees just for doing their banking. That difference is the Credit Union difference
, and it is a difference we all plan to celebrate on International Credit Union Day
on October 20th.