Letter: Cooperation is key for credit unions

Published 9:38 am Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On Thursday, Oct. 15, credit unions in our community and worldwide will come together to celebrate International Credit Union Day and the role that financial cooperatives play in improving the communities they serve and the lives of their members the world over.

This year’s theme, “Credit Unions Unite for Good: A Better Way,” encapsulates what has long been credit unions’ philosophical principle — cooperation among financial cooperatives to better serve their members.

In an era that continuously poses economic and financial challenges for people around the world, this theme honors credit unions’ cooperative principles. It is the goal of all credit unions to offer access to affordable financial services to all their members and provide even the most financially disadvantaged the tools and the opportunities to be financially self-sufficient.

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Credit unions are unique because they are not-for-profit, democratically controlled, member-owned cooperatives. Credit unions pool their members’ assets to provide low-cost loans and other financial services in the best interest of the members, not to earn shareholder profits. The credit union movement’s cooperative spirit is embraced by more than 200 million members served by 56,000 credit unions in 101 countries worldwide, working together to achieve economic progress. Credit unions play a vital role in the economic development and stability of the communities they serve, helping people improve their lives through access to affordable financial services and making the world a better place to live.

This year’s theme also recognizes other types of cooperative businesses and serves to highlight their contributions to poverty alleviation, job creation and social integration. Help make our voice be heard.

Stellar member service and democratic control are just some of the many benefits of being a credit union or cooperative member. That’s as true of credit unions here in Austin as it is in other cooperatively-owned financial institutions from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Cooperatives and credit unions are founde d on community service, a principle that has set them apart for more than 150 years.

This International Credit Union Day, we hope everyone will join us in celebrating the credit union difference, our proud cooperative heritage and the wonderful opportunities credit unions and cooperatives offer members of these local credit unions: Mower County Employees, Austin City Employees, Mower County Catholic Parishes and Accentra Credit Union. Become a member and join the credit union movement!

Stephanie Riles,

Manager of the Mower County Employees Credit Union