Credit Union (noun) – an essential financial cooperative
Monday, Nov 5, 2012
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Cooperatives can be formed to support producers such as farmers, purchasers such as independent business owners, and consumers such as electric coops and credit unions. Their primary purpose is to meet members’ needs through affordable goods and services of high quality.
Cooperatives such as credit unions may look like other businesses in their operations and, like other businesses, can range in size. However, the cooperative structure is distinctively different regardless of size. As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions serve individuals with a common goal or interest.
They are owned and democratically controlled by the people who use their services. Their board of directors consists of unpaid volunteers, elected by and from the membership. Members are owners who pool funds to help other members. After expenses and reserve requirements are met, net revenue is returned to members via lower loan and higher savings rates, lower costs and fees for services.
It is the structure of credit unions, not their size or range of services that is the reason for their tax exempt status - and the reason why almost three million Illinois residents are among 95 million Americans who count on their local credit union everyday to reach their financial goals.