What is a Credit Union?
A credit union is a financial co-operative which is made up of a group of persons who join together to make certain financial services available to themselves the members of the credit union. The major services offered by a credit union is to provide a facility to save money and to make loans available to members at a rate of interest lower than the commercial rate.
All members of any one co-operative must have something in common. They must all fall under what is called a common bond of the co-operative, before they can become eligible to join that particular co-operative. The bond could be, for example, that the people all live in the same Parish or community or that they are involved in the same activity or profession.
To join a credit union, the members must invest a sum of money. This sum is broken down into units called shares. Under the principles and practices governing co-operatives, this investment allows the members to become owners of the credit union. Regardless of the number of shares held in the credit union, each member has only one vote.
How is a Credit Union different from a Bank?
- Credit Unions are owned by its members whereas banks are owned by it's share holders who are not necessarily customers of said bank.
- Credit unions are democratically controlled with each member of the credit union having a vote. Customers of a bank do not have a direct say in how the bank is operated. Decisions are usually made by a small group Directors.
- Credit Unions are non-profit organizations. All profits are reinvested into the credit union and it's community. A share of the profit is also given back to each member in the form of an annual dividend. Bank profits go to a small group of shareholders and in most instances are not reinvested into the country within which the bank operates.
The Credit Union Logo
The “hands, family and globe”, symbol, represents credit unions worldwide. This trademark represents credit unions in any language. The theme is universal and conveys the image of all credit unions.
THE GLOBE – represents the international network of credit unions.
THE FOUR SILHOUETTES – represents the family of mankind working for the mutual benefit of all.
THE HANDS – represent the self-help nature of credit unions.