What’s a Credit Union?

A credit union is a place to keep your money, take out a loan, purchase life insurance, get a credit card…. A place where you can take care of all of your banking needs.

But a credit union is also so much more than that. Credit unions are not just financial institutions; credit unions are a movement founded on the 7 Cooperative Principles.

How does it work?

Credit unions were established to provide the common working person with a place to save their money and a place to borrow money. Each member is required to deposit a share (ours is $5.00) and that share is then pooled with all of the other members’ shares. Your share is your piece of the credit union, meaning you’re not just a member… you are a part-owner. Credit unions can use that money to give loans to members who need them. A credit union is essentially a group of people who share a common bond like working at the same place, living in the same area, or going to the same school and share resources for their financial wellbeing.
Many people are surprised to hear that credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. So, what happens to the money that the credit union makes? We give it back to our members! Here are a few ways we give back:

  • Dividends we pay you just for keeping your money at Commodore Perry.
  • Lower interest rates on products like loans and credit cards.
  • We don’t charge fees just for having an account with us.
  • Any fees that we do charge are typically much lower than the industry standard.
  • We support many charitable causes in our community.
  • We offer people of all ages free financial counseling and education.

What are the 7 Cooperative Principles?

1. Voluntary Membership
Membership is voluntary and available to anyone who shares our members’ common bond. For Commodore Perry, our common bond is living, working, worshiping, or attending school in Ottawa County, Ohio. If you meet those qualifications, you’re eligible for membership! Our credit union’s Board of Directors are all volunteers and members, too!

2. Democratic Member Control
Since we are owned, controlled, and operated by our members, our members can run for and vote for Board of Directors positions. Voting is held at our Annual Meeting every March and every member receives one vote, regardless of their account balance, length of membership, or any other factor.

3. Members’ Economic Participation
By depositing your money with Commodore Perry or getting a new loan, you’re taking part in the economic side of the credit union.

4. Autonomy and Independence
Commodore Perry and other credit unions are self-help organizations and controlled by our members. When we work with other businesses and organizations, we always ensure that our credit union and our members keep their right to democratic control of the credit union.

5. Education, Training and Information
At Commodore Perry, education for our members, managers, employees, Board Members, and our community is extremely important to us. We regularly hold employee training sessions for all positions in the credit union. We have four CUNA Certified Credit Union Financial Counselors on staff to educate members on a wide array of financial topics, from balancing a checkbook to debt management and almost everything in between.

We also help to provide financial literacy education for people of all ages in our community. We give financial presentations for students and adults, teach financial literacy in the classroom at local schools, and offer free financial resources for teachers.

6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives
We work with other cooperatives to provide our members with the absolute best service and as many resources as we can. We even have the ability to team up with other credit unions to form Credit Union Service Organizations (CUSOs) to better serve all of our members.

7. Concern for Community
Without our community, we would not exist. It is of utmost importance to us to give back to the communities we live and work in. Commodore Perry has helped raise funds and our employees have volunteered for many different charitable events and organizations in Ottawa County. We are proud to be Anchored in Our Community.