news.cuna.org/articles/116982-cus-have-vested-interest-in-members-financial-health

CUs have vested interest in members’ financial health

November 26, 2019

Credit unions are among the top resources for consumers to help improve their personal finances, C-Plant FCU Paul Adams wrote in the Mayfield Messenger earlier this week.

“For decades, credit unions have quietly served as the Bluegrass State's financial backbone. Kentucky is home to more than five dozen credit unions that boast almost 900,000 members. That's equivalent to one in every five state residents,” he wrote. “Though credit unions offer traditional banking services, they differ from big banks in many ways. Perhaps most significantly, credit unions are not-for-profit institutions owned and operated by their members. Anyone who banks with a credit union is also a partial owner. Every member has a say in how a credit union operates, regardless of how much money he or she deposits.”

Adams also notes that credit unions return their earnings to members through lower fees and better interest rates. Kentucky credit union members saw $78 million in benefits in 2018 alone.

But it’s the structure, Adams says, of member-owned financial cooperatives that places the emphasis on financial education and ensuring members’ financial health.

“Kentucky's credit unions also recently pledged to provide funding for the state's new Financial Empowerment Commission, which was created to bolster folks' money management skills,” Adams wrote. “Further, credit unions empower their members to improve their own financial standing...When members make payments on time, they improve their credit scores. That enables them to borrow bigger sums on favorable terms for major life events down the road, like purchasing a home or a car.

“This dedication to members' financial well-being explains why 60 percent of Americans find credit unions trustworthy,” he added.