2.5 million Wisconsin consumers have two causes for celebration on Oct. 16
PEWAUKEE, WI (October 2, 2014) — This October 16, two and a half million Wisconsinites will be honored by Wisconsin credit unions as part of two special celebrations: Bosses’ Day and International Credit Union Day. The observances—which may involve treats, parties or giveaways for account holders—honor the people that credit unions consider their “boss”: the 2.5 million consumers who use credit unions for borrowing and saving.
“Credit union employees look at the consumers who do business with them as their bosses—the people they’re ultimately accountable to—because they know that their members are the legal owners of the cooperative,” said Brett Thompson, President of the Wisconsin Credit Union League. “Delivering financial benefits to consumer-owners is the reason credit unions are in business. At any other financial institution you’re just a customer, but at credit unions, you’re an equal owner with all other members regardless of savings or loan balances.”
Every third Thursday in October credit unions celebrate International Credit Union Day to highlight the member-ownership structure that has returned more than $1 billion in savings to Wisconsin consumers since 2007 in the form of lower loan rates, higher savings rates and lower and fewer fees on financial services. Bosses’ Day simply gives that celebration greater clarity by emphasizing the consumer-ownership that has always been a part of ICU Day but is sometimes not understood as the reason behind the “perks” of credit union membership.
“Credit unions are one of the few banking options through which average citizens can primarily help themselves and their communities because the members rather than shareholders own credit unions,” Thompson said.
Ownership perks for Wisconsin credit union members, highlighted at www.theleague.coop/scorecard, include:
- Free checking (offered by most credit unions) as well as lower average returned check fees than banks.
- $650 in interest savings on new car financing compared to using a bank.
- Credit cards that charge four percentage points less in interest than banks—which could amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars in savings—and late payment fees that are, on average, $10 lower.
- The largest no-fee ATM network in the United States and the nation’s fourth largest branch network—called CU Service Centers—for members of participating credit unions
- 300,000 hours of free financial counseling annually that helps consumers set budgets, financially weather a job loss or illness, preserve creditworthiness, refinance loans at lower rates and prevent foreclosures.
- Much more: $2.8 billion in loans to small business that are “too small” for banks, support for 100+ in-school branches that teach teens to save, student loans that have proved more manageable than those from other sources, small loans that cost far less than payday loans, support for 3,000 causes/charities and more.