Local Service. Global Good. Yup, We’re Talking Banking

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Most banks don’t allow you to make your weekly deposits and then sign up to walk across a bed of hot coals for charity. But all across the country, local credit unions have done exactly this by giving their members the opportunity to serve their community, while also providing top notch financial services.

This kind of commitment may surprise you, but as Bob Dorsa, the president of the American Credit Union Mortgage Association in Las Vegas, said in an interview with the New York Times “[Credit unions] are interested in what’s in the best interest of their members.” And because credit unions serve their local stakeholders and not corporate shareholders, they understand their members’ desire to achieve their own dreams and also help the less fortunate in their communities.

Below are five credit unions that will inspire you to dream bigger and get involved in local service!

  1. Rockford Community Federal Credit Union is giving kids a chance to develop banking and finance skills at a young age—something that will shape them to succeed in the future. They created a fully functional credit union inside a school to give students firsthand experience with financial services like accepting bank memberships and processing deposits and withdrawals.
  2. Members First Credit Union in Michigan has a unique Community Difference Project where the credit union and staff join together to get involved in their community. Their past projects have included helping out at a local soup kitchen, a book giveaway, and even a pet supply drive.
  3. Redwood Credit Union in California conducts regular financial literacy seminars, inviting renowned financial experts like author and TV personality Jean Chatzky to speak to their community. They also support school supply drives for their local Boys and Girls Clubs. Through these initiatives and others like it, Redwood is achieving their mission of giving the gift of financial literacy to their entire community.
  4. Numerica Credit Union employees volunteered over 10,000 hours for their community, which shows their belief in the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.” By creating and delivering custom programs, their initiatives make a direct impact to their community.
  5. Amherst Federal Credit Union participates in a wide variety of community initiatives, from Toys for Tots to flower bouquet donations for hospice patients. They also collect cell phones at their credit union for recycling. The funds are then used to purchase calling cards for soldiers so they are able to call home. Amherst Federal also involves their members by having a space on their website where they can submit events the credit union will then promote. Call it crowdsourcing for social good!

Credit unions understand that financial literacy and local service empowers their members to achieve their dreams and those of the larger community. Since they are not-for-profit institutions, their incentives are aligned with their members and the larger community they serve. Sherry Cordonnier, Director of Corporate Relations at Travis credit union, says of her credit union’s mission, “As a stakeholder in our community, Travis Credit Union strives to empower our members and communities with information and knowledge that helps them understand their options, make smart choices, and take charge of their financial lives.” If you’re looking to get involved in your community, plan a visit to your local credit union and see how you can support their efforts. The difference you’re able to make may surprise you.