The Credit Union Difference
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The Credit Union Difference

Feb 14, 2017, 08:49 AM by Krista Olson
WCCU Annual Meeting highlights the differences between banks and credit unions.

Winnebago Community Credit Union’s Annual Meeting is fast approaching – March 2, 2017. I encourage all WCCU Moms to participate by attending to learn more about your credit union and what makes it so unique from banks. All members are invited and for only $5 you receive a nice meal, a promotional gift and a chance to will cash prizes!

At the meeting, you’ll learn more about the financial strength of Winnebago Community and an election of board members will take place.

So what makes a credit union so special – here are the facts:

Not-for-profit. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. We exist to serve our members, not to make a profit. Unlike most other financial institutions, credit unions do not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders. Instead, earnings are returned to our members in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest on deposits, and lower fees.

Taxation. Credit unions do pay taxes - payroll taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes. Congress exempts credit unions from federal income taxes. The exemption was established in 1937, affirmed by statute in 1951, and re-affirmed in 1998 in H.R. 1151, the Credit Union Membership Access Act, which states:

Credit unions, unlike many other participants in the financial services market, are exempt from Federal and most State taxes because credit unions are member-owned, democratically operated, not-for- profit organizations generally managed by volunteer boards of directors and because they have the specified mission of meeting the credit and savings needs of consumers, especially persons of modest means."

Ownership. Credit unions are economic democracy. Each credit union member has equal ownership and one vote -- regardless of how much money a member has on deposit. At a credit union, every customer is both a member and an owner.

Volunteer Boards. Each credit union is governed by a board of directors, elected by and from the credit union's membership. Board members serve voluntarily.

Membership Eligibility. By current federal statute, credit unions cannot serve the general public. People qualify for a credit union membership through their employer, organizational affiliations like churches or social groups, or a community-chartered credit union.

Financial Education for Members. Credit unions assist members to become better- educated consumers of financial services. Additionally, CUNA (our national credit union association) partners with the National Endowment for Financial Education, a not-for-profit foundation, to expand financial education among high school students. A national study shows that just ten hours of personal finance education can positively affect students' spending and savings habits for a lifetime.

Social Purpose: People Helping People. Credit unions exist to help people, not make a profit. Our goal is to serve all of our members well, including those of modest means - every member counts. Our members are fiercely loyal for this reason. They know their credit union will be there for them in bad times, as well as good. The same people-first philosophy causes credit unions and our employees to get involved in community charitable activities and worthwhile causes - just ask us.

Thank you for being a Winnebago Community Credit Union member!  Take time this year to learn more about us by attending our annual meeting!  See you there!