Credit Unions

Credit unions offer individuals, volunteer organizations, and small businesses the opportunity to save their money, do their banking and make their investment decisions in a setting that is closer to their community and values.

In late 2021, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) confirmed the right of credit unions “to establish relationships with third-party providers that offer digital asset services to the FICUs’ members” (an FICU is a federally insured credit union).

That announcement meant that credit unions could begin the process of connecting their members to various cryptocurrency providers. And administration vice chair, Kyle Hauptman went so far as to say, “I don’t want credit unions to get the way of Blockbuster Video because we, the regulators, prevented innovation.”

You probably need to be of a certain “vintage” to understand that reference. Let’s say that we can talk about “Netflix and chill” while “Blockbuster and chill” would just generate confused stares.

For that matter, is “Netflix and chill” still a thing? Probably not – post-COVID and all…

And I don’t know about you, but I can still remember a time when Blockbuster had the chance to buy Netflix.

Now look!

Sometimes, the opportunity we don’t take is the one we have to take. Hindsight is 20/20.

Is the same true for cryptocurrency in the years to come?

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Happy International Credit Union Day. After writing about the seven principles of cooperation at the core of the credit union movement, I wanted to share my thoughts on this special day.

As you might be able to see from this banner from the World Counci of Credit Unions, this is their 75th anniversary. 

So, just what is International Credit Union Day?

In its 65th year, this year is extra special. On their website the World Council of Credit Unions tells us that:

International Credit Union (ICU) Day® celebrates the spirit of the global credit union movement. The day is recognized to reflect upon the credit union movement’s history, promote its achievements, recognize hard work and share member experiences. International Credit Union (ICU) Day® has been celebrated on the third Thursday of October since 1948.

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Credit unions pride themselves on their commitment to their communities and demonstrate that concern in many ways. This includes supporting charitable drives in the neighborhood, bankrolling local small businesses, or sponsoring financial literacy efforts aimed at their friends, neighbors, and fellow credit union members.

This commitment can be seen in the social media feeds, email newsletters, and web posts of credit unions all across Canada and the United States. I believe it is a sincere commitment and is one of the greatest strengths of the credit union movement as a whole.  Read more

As organizations aimed at achieving economic strength and autonomy by banding together, it is clear that credit unions have a role to play in supporting similar organizations. This is an extension of the goal I have written about already: promoting credit unions’ local role in supporting local small businesses and charities.  And as Synergy Credit Union describes it in the presentation I have pointed to every time: 

What it means to you: Your credit union strengthens the cooperative movement by partnering with organizations that share the same important values. Read more

You and I know that credit unions are here to help their members and their community. This includes helping that community to build a strong financial foundation as individuals and as a whole. One of the ways credit unions do that is by offering education, training and information on financial goals, products and services.

What it means to you: Access to financial literacy tools and resources. Credit unions believe that education contributes to personal growth.

Brought to you once again by Synergy Credit Union in Saskatchewan. (The quote, that is) Read more

Autonomy and independence might seem like fancy words, but they do describe the continuation of your journey toward personal financial control. As a credit union member, you share control with your fellow CU members. And as a group, your credit union gains autonomy and independence. Strength in numbers, don’t you think?

Autonomy and independence: Offering strength in numbers

What it means to you: As a financial cooperative, your credit union is controlled by real members like you instead of outside shareholders.
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Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is a strategy or philosophy that encourages investors to consider their personal outlook and moral code when they make an investment decision. Other terms that may come up when you talk about or research SRI include: Values Investing; Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing; Sustainable Investing; or Responsible Investing

Social Investing

Impact Investing

Positive investing; Community Investment; Ethical Investments

The purpose of any credit union is to offer economic and financial benefits to its members. And that means you. Because the credit union belongs to its members, rates and fees are set to benefit everyone in the credit union. And services are put in place to help each of us.

As a member of your local credit union, you participate in deciding who will oversee the general direction of the institution, and it will act to serve its members and community. And refreshingly, your influence is based on being an individual member – not on the number of voting shares you bring to the table. In some ways, it seems like a radical concept, but it doesn’t need to be. 

Credit unions work by offering members a sense of ownership along with the feeling of inclusion I talked about in my last post. And that sense of ownership can be empowering. 

But that sense of power brings with it a feeling of responsibility. We are collectively involved in real decisions with real consequences. And those decisions should not be taken lightly.

A drawn image of a crowd of people of all colors

No matter what your financial situation looks like, the door is open, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.