The credit union business model… making dreams come true

Making dreams come true sounds more like the tag line to a theme park experience and not the end product from financial cooperatives.

But it is the truth

Members join credit unions in search of ways of achieving their dreams. These dreams vary in size and scope. Some are basic dreams, of having enough money to stop living from paycheck to paycheck. Other dreams include home ownership, college tuition, dream wedding, a once in a lifetime cruise and also retirement.

And yes the method that credit unions use to fulfill dreams come in the form of standard loan and deposit products. However, it is the unique way these common financial instruments are used by skilled credit union employees to help bring dreams to reality that elevate credit unions from other financial institutions.

Credit unions help bring these dreams to fruition every day because they are financial cooperatives that were founded on the following seven cooperative principles:

  1. Voluntary Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Member’s Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and independence
  5. Education, Training and Information
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for community

The cooperative principles make credit unions unique in both their market place position, but also in their philosophy to providing deposits and loans to its members.

Credit unions are the ONLY financial institutions that were founded on cooperative principles. This is important enough to repeat that; credit unions are the ONLY financial institutions with 7 cooperative principles as its foundation and driving force. This is the credit union difference. The cooperative principles provide a different lens for credit unions to look at their users. Credit unions see their member as a person with a dream, rather than a FICO score. This is clear in the credit union lending process. Credit unions in general look at many facets about the member to help them make their dreams come true.

If you want an example of how credit unions achieve this, ask anyone who works in a credit union for the reason why they do what they do.

Here is my story that I tell when I am describing the credit union difference.

A member came to the branch upset from the news that they found out that they needed $100 monthly medication for a condition they were recently diagnosed for. The member was tremendously upset, as they had no idea where they were going to find the money.

The branch manager reviewed the member’s account and quickly identified several ways that they could help the member get $100 for the medication as well as another $100. The member burst into tears of appreciation when the solution was presented.   The member said “ I didn’t know you could do that!” and the branch manager simply said, “That is what we do.”

That is the 7 cooperative principles in action helping to create member dreams.

Anne Legg

Anne Legg

Anne Legg, founder and principal of THRIVETM Strategic Services THRIVE works with credit unions to develop transformational business strategies from their business insights to grow in a competitive, highly regulated ... Web: Details