Unlike a bank, a credit union exists only to serve its members — not to profit from them. Any profit or extra income generated is returned to the members by way of a dividend and/or is directed to improved or additional services required by the members.
Credit Unions exist all over the world and have proven to be a great way of people coming together to improve their financial situation.
The origins of the ‘Credit Union’ has been traced to southern Germany where in 1849 a small town mayor, Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen formed self-help societies that later evolved into ‘Credit Unions’. Their original purpose being to help people out of debt and poverty, by saving together and lending to each other.
The first Credit Union in Ireland opened in 1958 and today there are over 400 credit unions in place serving the community. Today, there are almost 3 million members of Irish credit unions and the range of services has expanded from savings and loans to include many insurance and financial value added services.
Why Do Credit Unions Exist?
There are a number of reasons why a Credit Union is formed:
- To encourage thrift
- To create a source of credit at reasonable interest rates
- To educate and help members to use their resources wisely
- To promote the welfare of the community
Becoming A Member
Once you open an account with a Credit Union to save or borrow, you become a member and you will have access to fair and reasonable rates on savings and loans.
Credit unions offer members the chance to have control over their own finances by making their own savings work for them. Your savings contribute to your credit union’s loan fund. So your savings are helping other members.
Because your credit union was formed to help its members, it’s goal is to offer fair rates on savings and loans. But this is not the only advantage of being a member.
You can also avail of a broad range of insurance and financial services and also get help with managing your money if you need it.