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Saluting the Not-For-Profit Model on Credit Union Day

About 2 million Oregonians have their money in a local credit union. (NikolayFrolochkin/Pixabay)
About 2 million Oregonians have their money in a local credit union. (NikolayFrolochkin/Pixabay)
October 19, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. – Credit unions in Oregon and around the world are celebrating International Credit Union Day Thursday.

These banking alternatives are growing in popularity, with about half of Oregonians now members of one of 59 local credit unions.

Many celebrated the lead-up to Credit Union Day with member appreciation week promotions.

Larry Ellifritz heads Consolidated Community Credit Union in Portland. He says as larger institutions such as Wells Fargo continue to face turmoil, the not-for-profit, member-owned cooperative model stands out.

"Really, it stems from being here to give that value the organization creates back to the people who bank here, to our members – as opposed to other financial institutions that that value that the entity generates goes to the people who invested in the bank," he states.

Ellifritz says credit unions still face the misconception that members’ money won't be as easily accessible as it is at other institutions.

But he notes that most credit unions are part of a network of surcharge-free ATMs around the country.

Because of its structure, Ellifritz says a credit union also gets to be more community-focused than other financial organizations.

"As a CEO, my and our credit union's focus is just the people who are in this area,” he stresses. “I don't worry about Chicago, Dallas, New York. And it's really easy to know what this community needs, because we all live here."

Because credit unions don't have to pay shareholders, they are often able to offer lower fees on their services than traditional lenders.


Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR