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If you belong to a credit union, you’re not only a member, you’re an owner!

Credit unions are different. Helping members make good financial decisions, returning profits back to members through lower loan rates and higher rates of return, and being part of a cooperative with a community presence are just a handful of the benefits of credit union membership.

Credit unions are owned and controlled by the very people who save and borrow there—the members! There are so many reasons why you should find a credit union where you work, live, worship or go to school – the most common fields of membership. As the fifth-strongest credit union state in the nation, it also is important to remember that our state’s credit unions are part of an international movement – another part of the credit union difference.

Did you know that all credit unions, no matter where they are, follow the same principles? The Seven Cooperative Principles for Credit Unions are well-known to credit union staff around the globe. Unique institutions collaborate, agree to network, and follow the same philosophy in order to best serve the members and the communities that make this cooperative financial model possible.

7 principles

The Seven Cooperative Principles For Credit Unions

  1. Voluntary Membership
    Credit unions are voluntary, cooperative organizations. Because they are not-for-profit institutions that are operated by a volunteer board of directors, their top priority is the financial well-being of each member – not making a profit.
  2. Democratic Member Control
    Each member gets one vote. Credit unions are truly owned and controlled by their members – each has a say in the decisions that are made.
  3. Members’ Economic Participation
    At a credit union, you’ll never be referred to as a customer – always as a member. The members are the owners, contributing to and literally controlling the capital of the credit union.
  4. Autonomy and Independence
    All cooperatives are autonomous organizations controlled by their members. If a credit union opts to partner with any other organization for any product or service, it is done so by democratic vote.
  5. Education, Training and Information
    Credit unions are literally a wealth of knowledge. They provide financial education and training for members and to their communities.
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
    Shared Branching and the SURF ATM Networks are just a couple benefits of credit unions being cooperatives! No single, private financial institution has as large a network as credit unions do – and that network is international! This is possible because of the collaboration that happens between credit unions.
  7. Concern for Community
    Being active participants in their community is one of the guiding philosophies of all credit unions. Whether it is volunteering for local organizations, hosting fundraisers, or supporting local causes, chances are, you’ve seen your local credit union giving back.

Want to learn more about becoming a member of a Maine credit union? Visit www.mainecreditunions.org or stop by at 12 Monument St., Winslow!