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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Management > Green Economy > Green Market Opportunities

Credit Unions Offer Peace of Mind

For more than 100 Years in the U.S., Credit Unions have been cooperative financial institutions that provide access and security to individuals and families.

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Options and tools for managing personal finance have never been greater. There are lots of choices for lots of lifestyles – from banks to financial advisors, from ATMs to on-line bill paying. But at the top of nearly everyone’s list of must-haves are access and security, and these two attributes are at the very core of credit unions.

Not For Profit Financial Institutions

Credit unions were first formed in the mid-1800s as not-for-profit financial institutions by people with a common bond who pooled their assets to provide loans and other financial services to each other. The 100th anniversary of the very first credit union in the U.S. was observed in 2008. Today, credit unions are still owned by their members, not shareholders like banks, and provide advanced, innovative personal financial options while continuing to maintain their core traits.

From their beginning, credit unions have existed to provide service to members and help them improve their financial health.

  • Credit unions offer many of the same services as banks, including having deposits insured for up to $250,000 per member and backed by the United States government.
  • Credit union-issued credit cards tend to not have an annual fee.
  • Credit union members have access to a national surcharge-free ATM network larger than any national bank.

“Long ago some people felt the safest, most convenient place for their money was under their mattress,” says Stan Hollen, President/CEO, CO-OP Financial Services, a credit union-owned cooperative based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. “Times have changed, but people still want security and easy access. That’s why we operate the surcharge-free CO-OP Network, with more than 28,000 ATMs around the country, many of them deposit taking, specifically for credit unions.”

“Credit unions are secure and convenient places to put your money, and they are unique among financial institutions because owners and users are the same people,” said Hollen. “So, profits from their institutions go back to them in the form of lower loan rates, higher savings rates, fewer fees and expanded tools that help them effectively and efficiently manage their finances.”

Virtually everyone in the U.S. can belong to a credit union. While an individual credit union’s charter defines its “field of membership,” some credit unions have “community” charters and serve a region defined by geography rather than by employment or some other association. There are 90 million credit union members in the United States, in 8,000 credit unions nationwide.

About CO-OP Financial Services

Based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., CO-OP Financial Services provides access and convenience products for credit unions. Nearing 30 years of credit union service, CO-OP connects credit union members to their accounts through network services, payment processing, e-commerce solutions, CO-OP Shared Branching and call center services. With total of 3,000 credit union members, 26 million cardholders, 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs, 4,000 shared branch locations, plus 160 million-plus monthly transactions, CO-OP Financial Services is the nation’s largest credit union service organization, offering the tools, knowledge and leadership to help credit unions prosper.

To learn more, visit www.co-opfs.org.

Follow CO-OP on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/COOPFS

Keep up with industry issues via the CO-OP Insight Vault blog at: http://co-opinsightvault.com.

For more information, please contact the Business Development Department of CO-OP Financial Services at 800-782-9042, ext. 7140, or via e-mail at: BusinessDevelopment@co-opfs.org.



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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