Why Credit Unions Are Worth Celebrating
In 1924, Roy Bergengren, one of the architects of the credit union movement, reflected on what a credit union can do for people.
“The credit union is, in fact, a bridge,” Bergengren wrote in the inaugural issue of “The Bridge,” the official newsletter of the American credit union movement, which was then in its infancy. “It may be the bridge over which the tenant farmer travels the wide gap that separates him from ownership. It may be the way that opens the great land of opportunity to the wage worker, who finds his savings the ‘open sesame’ to broader possibilities for himself and his family.”
International Credit Union Day
Twenty-four years later in 1948, credit unions in America, and later around the world, began celebrating the philosophy and achievements of credit unions every year on the third Thursday in October.
The theme for International Credit Union Day 2017 was “Dreams Thrive Here” and harkens back to Bergengren’s sentiment. It’s meant to serve as a reminder of how effective credit unions like Bangor Federal Credit Union are at helping all people chase and achieve their biggest dreams in life.
This is because, unlike other financial institutions, credit unions are not-for-profit so their primary purpose isn’t to score record profits in order to cut distant shareholders bigger dividends checks. Rather, the primary purpose of credit unions is — and always has been — to be of service to their members. That means you.
This people-first philosophy doesn’t just mean better service; it translates into a better financial deal for consumers. Credit unions, on average, offer higher rates of return on savings accounts, lower rates on loans, and fewer and lower fees than other financial institutions. According to data collected by the Credit Union National Association, credit union members saved $9.3 billion over what they would have paid at banks: $1.9 billion through higher yields on savings, $1.2 billion on lower fees, and $6.2 billion on lower loan rates in the first half of 2016.
When we wish you a Happy ICU Day in October, know that we truly appreciate you for belonging to a movement that is helping your neighbors and community members’ dreams thrive.