Time for the third and final part in our series on what the big stinking deal is about credit unions.

Lesson Three: Democratic Control

Lest you think this is going to turn into a conversation about politics, let me clear this up. Every member-owner of a credit union receives one vote when electing the Board of Directors. At a bank, you can only elect the Board of Directors if you are a stockholder, and even if you are a stockholder, the number of votes you receive depends on how large your shares are.

The Board of Directors is important. Really important. They oversee the credit union management and provide guidance on the overall strategic direction of the credit union. When necessary, they prevent credit union management from doing something unwise, thus protecting your interest in the credit union.  Electing the Board is kind of like a small scale election of the President; voting on the right candidate makes all the difference in how well things run. (Somehow, politics weaseled its way in.)

Even more important is that the Board of Directors at a credit union is made up of members who volunteer to serve. Banks have to pay their Boards, and their Directors may not even be customers. Unlike a bank, this means that a credit union Board not only has little possibility for ulterior motives in decision making, but they also make decisions that are wise for members because they are members themselves!

What’s the Big Stinking Deal?

You have a say in how a credit union operates. Banks can’t offer that.