What is a Credit Union?
On the surface, credit unions are financial institutions that offer the same products and services as banks.
On a deeper level, credit unions are member-owned financial cooperatives whose operating philosophy is “not for profit, but for service.” Credit unions exist solely to serve their members and their local communities, and they do so by returning their profits to their members and reinvesting in their communities.
Credit Unions Return Profits to Their Members
Banks are owned by shareholders who are people and companies that own stock in the bank. When banks profit, they return their profits to their shareholders.
Credit unions are owned by their members who are people in your local community that have accounts and loans with the credit union. When credit unions profit, they return their profits to their members in the form of higher savings dividends, lower loan rates, and other perks like ATM Fee reimbursements.
Because credit unions are owned by their members, every business decision they make is with their members’ best interest in mind.
Credit Unions Reinvest in Their Communities
The money you deposit at a bank will likely leave the community in the form of profits for shareholders, executive bonuses, and even paying the bank’s legal fees. Last year, the banks profited over $45 billion collectively.
When you deposit money at a credit union, your money stays in the local community and can used to help a family get their first mortgage, finance a student’s education, or help a local business owner open a new store location.
Because credit unions are not for profit, they thrive by reinvesting in their local communities.
Credit Unions Cooperate with Each Other
One of the National Cooperative Business Association’s Seven Cooperative Principles is “Cooperation Among Cooperatives.” As financial cooperatives, credit unions cooperate with each other in a way that for-profit banks cannot.
The biggest example of this cooperative principle is the national network of credit union service centers called the Co-Op Shared Branch Network, which allows credit unions members to visit designated Shared Branch locations to perform basic banking transactions.
Next time you're traveling, use the Co-op Shared Branch Network search tool to find a credit union shared branch near you.
About Amplify Credit Union
Amplify Credit Union has been serving Austin, TX since 1967 where it began as IBM Texas Employees Federal Credit Union. Since then, it has grown to over $700 million in assets and serves over 50,000 members across seven branches in the Austin, Round Rock, and Cedar Park communities.
In 2014, Amplify employees volunteered over 1500 collective hours in the Austin, Round Rock, and Cedar Park communities for organizations like Hope Alliance, Meals on Wheels, and local animal shelters.
Choosing to bank with a credit union means reinvesting in yourself, your neighbors, and your community. Become a member of Amplify Credit Union Member today and experience the credit union difference!