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"Service, Integrity and Financial Stability for Valley Oak Credit Union Members"
"To provide excellent member service through well-trained, professional personnel"
Valley Oak Credit Union is a testament to the philosophy on which all credit unions are based, the "people helping people" principle. Established in 1944 by a local co-op grocer, George Burcham, in idyllic Three Rivers, California, Valley Oak Credit Union was established to serve the agricultural workers of Tulare County and its communities.
Credit union membership offers many benefits and services from simple savings to home equity loans to share term certificates. Study after study reinforces the fact that, on average, credit unions provide the best financial offerings with fewer fees, lower rates on loans, and higher rates on savings, all while maintaining a democratic, member-owned business model. The Board of Directors of Valley Oak Credit Union are elected by members; each member has an equal vote, regardless of how much he or she has on deposit. Only members may serve as Directors, and Directors serve without compensation.
From its inception to its current size of three branches serving Tulare and Madera Counties and the surrounding communities and over 6,700 members, the resolve of Valley Oak Credit Union remains strong & true: Service, Integrity and Financial Stability for all our members.
Did you know that credit unions are quite different from banks? Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives, owned by the people — or members — who bank with them. Banks are owned by stockholders who demand high profits and expect a return on their investment.
The first credit cooperative was formed in 1844 by a group of workers in England. Some of these workers were struggling financially and their only option at the time was to borrow money at very high interest rates, which drove them deeper into debt. Then, they realized that some workers had savings, while others needed to borrow. By using the savings to help those who needed loans, the savers earned interest, and helped their fellow workers by charging less for the loans. In this way, everyone helped each other and credit unions were born!
Credit unions today operate under the same general principles as they did when they started. We carry on that spirit of helping others by making sure our members receive affordable banking products and the excellent service they deserve.
As owners, credit union members — regardless of how much money they have in their accounts — have an equal vote in elections. In this way, credit unions are democratic.
Credit unions are also tax-exempt. This means our net income is returned to members in the form of expanded services, stronger reserves, lower fees, and competitive loan rates.
Banks, on the other hand, are for-profit institutions that make decisions about how much to charge in fees and rates so that a maximum yield is returned to their stockholders.
Directors of banks usually receive director fees, stock options, and other perks. Credit union boards and committee members are volunteers who receive no compensation for their service.
And by the way, don’t let a banker tell you we’re not federally insured. We are. Your account with the credit union is federally insured up to $250,000 and backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Government by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, a sister fund to the FDIC.
Banks serve an important role in our nation’s economy, especially when it comes to financing businesses and commercial enterprises. In fact, Valley Oak Credit Union maintains good relationships with local community banks and often refers business loan requests. But when it comes to consumer loans and deposit services, our credit union is often the best choice. And because of our commitment to helping people, you can be very proud to bank with us.
Nationally, without credit unions, banks could charge whatever they wanted since consumers wouldn’t have a choice of financial institutions. For this reason it is unfortunate that the American Bankers Association is working hard every day in Washington, DC and in all 50 states to eliminate the not-for-profit status of credit unions. Many banks see credit unions as a threat to their business, even though the largest U.S. bank is larger than all credit unions combined.
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