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Christian Sci. Monitor: CUs, Co-ops Have No Investors To Please
MADISON, Wis. (5/29/13)--The benefits that credit unions and cooperatives offer consumers through their cooperative ownership structure were emphasized in a May 26 article in the Christian Science Monitor.

"If you buy products--from a bunch of carrots to a car loan--why not buy from a company you own?" the article, headlined, "Co-op: shopping where you own the place," asked readers.

Member-owned credit unions added nearly two million members in 2012, the article said.

Commercial banks face competitive pressures because they must serve two masters: customers and shareholders, said Stephen Brobeck, executive director Consumer Federation of America, a Washington-based group of nearly 300 consumer advocacy organizations told the Christian Science Monitor. Banks tend to favor investors, Brobeck told the Monitor.

In contrast, members of Pennsylvania State Employees CU (PSECU), Harrisburg, Pa., pay $1 to join the credit union. To qualify for membership, they must be employees of state, county, and municipal governments, or graduates of affiliated universities, the article said.

PSECU members receive benefits such as a free credit score report each month. ATM surcharges are reimbursed up to $20 per month. In January, PSECU distributed $10 million in dividends to 234,000 members. The average beneficiary received $42. Some members received more than $3,000.

Cooperatives are experiencing growth in others sectors as well, the article said. Grocery co-ops, with 1.3 million members in the U.S., have increased memberships and revenues at a 10% annual rate during the past decade.

To read the article use the link.
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