members make the difference

Experience the Credit Union Difference

What is the Credit Union Difference?

Credit unions promote the financial well-being of members, including those of modest means, through a system that is cooperative, member-owned, volunteer-directed and not-for-profit. Read on to learn about seven key principles that help define why credit unions are known as cooperatives.

  1. Voluntary Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Members' Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training & Information
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community
Credit Union Difference

People Helping People

1. Voluntary Membership

Credit unions are voluntary, cooperative organizations, offering services to people willing to accept the responsibilities and benefits of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination. Many cooperatives, such as credit unions, operate as not-for-profit institutions with volunteer board of directors.  In the case of credit unions, members are drawn from defined fields of membership.

2. Democratic Member Control

Cooperatives are democratic organizations owned and controlled by their members, one member one vote, with equal opportunity for participation in setting policies and making decisions.

3. Members' Economic Participation

Members are the owners of the credit union and contribute to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. For credit unions, which typically offer better rates, fees and service than for-profit financial institutions, members recognize benefits in proportion to the extent of their financial transactions and general usage.

4. Autonomy and Independence

Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the cooperative enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the member and maintains the cooperative autonomy.

5. Education, Training and Information

Cooperatives provide education and training for members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of the cooperative.  Credit unions place particular importance on educational opportunities for their volunteer directors, and financial education for their members and the public, especially the nation's youth. Credit unions also recognize the importance of ensuring the general public and policy makers are informed about the nature, structure and benefits of cooperatives.

6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, state, regional, national, and international structures.

7. Concern for Community

While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of communities, including people of modest means, through policies developed and accepted by the members.

What does this mean for you?  NorthStar operates as a full service financial institution for the benefit of our membership. Our profits are returned to the membership, our owners, through lower interest rate loans, competitive monthly dividends, and lower fees to ensure long term stability. Borrowing and saving with NorthStar is like making an investment in yourself!