In 1924, Roy Bergengren, one of the architects of the credit union movement, reflected on what a credit union can do for people.

“The credit union is, in fact, a bridge,” Bergengren wrote in the inaugural issue of “The Bridge,” the official newsletter of the American credit union movement, which was then in its infancy. “It may be the bridge over which the tenant farmer travels the wide gap that separates him from ownership. It may be the way that opens the great land of opportunity to the wage worker, who finds his savings the ‘open sesame’ to broader possibilities for himself and his family.”

Twenty-four years later, in 1948, credit unions in America, and later around the world, began celebrating the philosophy and achievements of credit unions every year on the third Thursday in October. The theme for International Credit Union Day 2017 is “Dreams Thrive Here,” which reflects back to Bergengren’s sentiment, and is meant to serve as a reminder of how effective credit unions like State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU) are to helping  members chase and achieve their financial dreams.

This is because, unlike other financial institutions, SDFCU is a not-for-profit organization, so our primary purpose isn’t to score record profits in order to cut stockholders bigger dividends checks. Rather, the primary purpose of SDFCU like other credit unions is—and always has been—to be of service to our members, which means you.

This people-first philosophy doesn’t just mean better service; it translates into a better financial deal for you. On average, we offer higher rates of return on savings accounts, lower rates on loans, and little to no fees.

Through the first half of 2016, according to data collected by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), credit union members saved $9.3 billion over what they would have paid at banks: $1.9 billion through higher yields on savings, $1.2 billion on lower fees, and $6.2 billion on lower loan rates.

So join us at any of our branches today to celebrate International Credit Union Day.

Donovan B. Fox, © Copyright 2017