Vantage Point

What Does It Mean to Be a Credit Union Member?

It’s A Money Thing

“Customer” and “Member” are NOT the same thing

Even though there are over 5,000 credit unions in the United States, there are many misconceptions about their structure and the services they offer. One popular-but-false assumption is that the term “credit union member” is interchangeable with the term “credit union customer”. It might seem like a harmless mistake, but the concept of membership is what sets credit unions apart from other financial institutions.

Being a “member” isn’t just empty marketing terminology—it reflects your credit union’s commitment to cooperative values and shapes your entire banking experience. As a Vantage Credit Union member, you’re a part owner, both having a say in how Vantage is run and sharing in its success in tangible ways.

You own a part of your credit union

The main difference between banks and credit unions is their ownership: banks are owned by investors, and credit unions are member-owned (this makes them financial cooperatives). For example, when you first opened an account at Vantage, you made a small deposit. That initial deposit wasn’t some sort of service fee—it bought you a common share in the credit union. As a Vantage shareholder, you officially own a part of the credit union, which gives you access to the benefits listed below.

You affect how your credit union is run

Members are directly involved in shaping their credit union’s future (bank customers, for the record, have no say). As a Vantage member, you get to vote for our board of directors (or even run for the board yourself). You also have the opportunity to vote on special resolutions or key policy decisions at the annual meeting. The partnerships that Vantage has with local charities and small businesses also provide plenty of opportunity to contribute to initiatives in your community.

You share in your credit union’s success

When your credit union profits, so do you. As a Vantage shareholder, you benefit from the credit union’s success in the form of lower fees, better interest rates, and enhanced products and services. That shared success goes both ways, which means that Vantage is invested in your financial well-being, as well.

At Vantage, this translates into a variety of personal services, financial coaching, sincere advice, and top-notch care. Perhaps this trend explains why credit unions consistently rate highly in customer satisfaction. * Fundamentally, as financial cooperatives, credit unions are structured in such a way that they succeed when their individual members succeed—which is why we take your financial goals so seriously here at Vantage!

Being a credit union member means you share in your financial institution’s ownership, vision, and profits. It gives you the opportunity to shape your personal banking experience, as well as the impact your banking has on your local community. Membership has meaning and value. It’s not equivalent to being a customer at another financial institution—it’s a complete alternative.

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* Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index