BANGOR, Maine (6/26/08)--Maine credit unions, a member, and the Maine Credit Union League educated readers of The Maine Edge.com about the credit union difference in an in-depth article Wednesday. The article began with Brewer (Maine) FCU member Mike Curran. Curran told the newspaper he likes his $37.5 million asset credit union for its simplicity, convenience of location, and the financial services--and for recognizing him every time he visits the branch. He preferred a small institution that can't be bought. Bangor FCU President/CEO Stephen K. Clark talked about the democratic, cooperative structure of credit unions, which represents "a much different model than the conventional stock ownership of most banks." Bucksport-based Seaboard FCU CEO Kyle Cashburn described the difference in for-profit (where the company maximizes the financial return for stockholders) and not-for-profit (it maximizes the financial return for its member owners) businesses. Richard Kaul, president/CEO of Brewer FCU, noted credit unions' rich history based on urban financial cooperatives in Germany and credit unions' service to people of modest means. He also said credit unions are expanding to serve small businesses. "The backbone of Maine's economy is moms and pops," Kaul told the newspaper. Jon Paradise, spokesman for the Maine Credit Union League, discussed the growth in popularity the credit union industry has seen in the state and why credit unions are popular. About half of the state's population belongs to a credit union, he told the newspaper. As cooperatives, credit unions are exempt from state and federal income taxes and return excess profits to their members, Paradise said, noting the constant battle with banks. Also discussed: field of membership growth and expansion through technology and shared branching; credit unions cooperation with each other in shared branch networks,, and credit unions' cooperative nature meaning combining. The article noted credit unions' collaboration, concluding that "all who were interviewed shared a common belief in community…but also a camaraderie among seeming competitors not normally found in any industry." Use the link for the full article.