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Your Credit Union: Intentionally Different

Credit unions are different from banks in significant ways. Those differences were made intentionally, with you as the focus.

For one thing, credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives owned by their members. Therefore, credit unions try to avoid doing anything that might harm their members. In contrast, for-profit institutions, like banks, focus on generating income for their shareholders.

To generate that income, banks sometimes engage in lucrative, but risky practices, that most credit unions avoid. A case in point: credit unions did not engage in practices that caused the deposit insurance bank failures in March 2023.

Credit unions are also better able to weather tough economic periods. They do this by staying well-capitalized. What that means is that they have a lot of wiggle room to absorb mistakes or bad behavior on the part of people who have borrowed from them.

When members suffer financially and are unable to pay their loan payments, credit unions have less money to loan to other members. But that's the beauty of the credit union model—the capital buffer protects the credit union from going under. Credit unions can live with those conditions without suffering dire consequences. In the for-profit sector, it's more difficult. If their stockholders see earnings go down or they don’t continue getting high rates of return, the bank could collapse. Credit unions, on the other hand, can continue to serve their members even if they'll make a little less money in the process.

In addition, the money you have in your federally insured credit union is backed by the NCUA (National Credit Union Administration). Individual accounts are insured up to $250,000, members’ interest in joint accounts is insured up to $250,000. Federal insurance guarantees that the "full faith and credit" of the U.S. government stands behind the deposits. Members of federally insured credit unions have never lost a penny of insured savings.

The philosophy of the credit union movement is “People Helping People.” NWAFCU was established for You. We’re here to provide you, your family, our Adventist community with a secure place to keep and grow your money.

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