What is a Credit Union?
Credit unions are cooperative institutions following the principles of financial self-assistance. They offer deposit, credit and settlement services to their members who are, at the same time, their owners, and take care for their common good. The specific nature of credit union activity is best described by the motto of the US credit unions “Not for profit, not for charity, but for service”. The global association of credit unions is the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) embracing over 51 thousand of the institutions from 100 countries of the globe, with total membership exceeding 196 million of people. In 2013 the First Vice-Chairperson of the organisation was a Pole, Mr. Grzegorz Bierecki.
Credit unions are stable and important financial market institutions, providing an attractive alternative to the banks. The money they earn is used to provide to their members an attractive financial offer and to invest in local culture and art. Consequently, the money is – in a sense - returned to their membership. Thanks to the alternative way of operation they remain safe and stable. Unlike banks, credit unions have not fell prey to the financial market crisis. They are established and operate in local communities united by a common bond resulting from people working for the same company, sharing the same interests, religious beliefs or membership in a specific organisation. All credit union members have equal voting rights and participate in decision-making processes concerning the operation of their credit union on a “one member – one vote” principle.
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