The Credit Union Advantage

The Credit Union Advantage


Despite today's fast-paced and globalized world, we still place value on our local communities. We buy local food, play on community sports teams and attend community events. With all this focus on community, why wouldn’t we also trust our financial matters to our local financial institutions? Becoming a member of a community credit union is a great way to keep your business local and in turn, support your community. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of all the benefits that come along with being a member of a credit union!


Credit Unions are cooperative

Credit unions are not banks, although outwardly it may be hard to tell the difference. Credit unions are cooperative financial institutions, meaning they are owned by the people who hold accounts with them. These people are called members and they have a say in how the credit union is run, by voting for a board of directors to represent them. Each member has a share in the company, making them a “part-owner” of the credit union itself! This means that, unlike banks, no one person benefits from the credit union's success. Instead, all members benefit from the organization's profits. To quote from the International Cooperative Alliance Statement on the Co-operative Identity, credit unions are “based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others”[1].


Credit Unions are community-oriented

                Credit unions pride themselves in being community-oriented. Each year, Canada’s credit unions donate millions of dollars to charitable foundations, scholarships and bursaries that work to support local communities[2]. Not only do credit unions support educational programs, they also work to improve community development by supporting community projects and events. Take the time to look around at the next sporting event or town fair you attend and be assured you will find a community credit union as a sponsor. This should be no surprise, as there are over 3000 community credit union branches in Canada today.[3]


Credit Unions are member-oriented

Credit union members are always the first priority. Unlike large financial institutions, credit unions are focused on, and are able to meet, each one of their member’s needs. This is accomplished easily because of their small size and democratic member control. Customer service is more easily catered to individuals as credit union employees are encouraged to get to know each of their members. As a typical credit union member, you may find you are greeted by name and with a warm smile whenever you come into the branch. Because of this personalized care, credit union employees can provide insightful and thoughtful services and advice. Every member is unique and every stage of life is different, which is why credit unions take the time to come up with creative and personalized solutions for all of your financial needs.


Credit Unions work for you

With over 3000 credit union branches in Canada, members have a lot of options to meet their financial needs. Not only that, but with the advancement of digital banking technologies, it is even easier for credit union members to access and manage their financial matters worldwide. For your convenience and peace of mind, credit union members are able to use ATM machines at any credit union across Canada without being charged service fees. As well, depositing cheques and transferring money to friends and family can be accomplished all with the touch of a button on your cellphone. Credit unions continue to focus on better rates and lower fees to help you make your financial dreams a reality!


If you haven’t stopped in to your local credit union lately, consider taking the time to see what they can do for you. Credit unions offer all the same services as full-fledged banks, but molded to fit your individual banking needs. At your local credit union you are more than a number, you’re a member! Considering switching to a credit union today, you won’t regret it!


Submitted by Katherine Andres by Niverville Credit Union

[1]  International Co-operative Alliance. Statement on the Co-operative Identity.

[2] Credit Union Central of Canada, Member Advantage, 2012

[3] Central 1: Credit Union System, Credit Unions in Canada, 2016