Perks of credit union membership

By Kelly Ly, UNT incoming freshman and UO Teen Advisory Board Member

Greetings, fellow Unity One members!

It's that time of year again! That's right, May 24, 2013 is the day where it's all about YOU! The day you are thanked for being a member of Unity One Credit Union.Kelly professional pic resized 600

As a member of Unity One Credit Union, you already know why a credit union would be the better choice for entrusting your hard-earned money.

Unlike banks, credit unions are owned by the members, which means you get a say in anything that happens in the credit union. Your voice matters.


We are operated by a volunteer board of directors chosen by the members, whereas a bank is operated by a paid board of directors. You know what that means right? The paid board of directors could care less about what you have to say or what happens to your money as long as they are being paid the big bucks.


Also, any earnings are returned back to the members of credit unions with lower rates on loans. These are just a handful of the many great things that a credit union has to offer. Please visit www.unityone.org or stop by a local branch to become a credit union member and receive the endless benefits today.

Credit union auto loans: the credit union difference

Need a car but can’t pay cash? You have three choices: Borrow from the dealer or manufacturer’s financing company, borrow from a bank or borrow from a credit union (unless uncle Bob is willing to finance you, but who wants the “strings” that go along with that?). Each method has advantages and disadvantages – but if you can qualify, the way to go is usually credit union auto loanwith a credit union.

Interest rates are still near historic lows. If you are going to borrow money for a car, there’s never been a better time, especially at Unity One Credit Union. Click here for the current rates and disclosures.

Structural Advantages of Credit Unions

Credit unions are known for having lower fees and interest rates than banks and other finance companies. The advantage is in the ownership structure: The owners of banks and the majority of consumer finance companies are stockholders – not you. That means every product or service they provide has but one real objective: to make money for their shareholders, while not alienating you so much that you take your deposits and future business somewhere else.

The owners of credit unions, on the other hand, are members, not shareholders. That means profits are distributed among its members in the form of dividends, and in the form of lower fees. Every dime that would have gone to Wall Street, in the case of a credit union car loan, stays with credit union members. And you, as the borrower, get to keep a chunk of it, in the form of lower interest rates and fees.

Advantage to the Consumer

With traditional stock ownership, there is always an adversarial relationship between the bank and the customer. Banks serve the stockholders. The credit union exists, however, to serve members. Think of it: If the credit union didn’t serve member interests, the members could simply replace the management team until they found managers who are more responsive to the needs of the membership.

Advantages of Banks

Credit unions tend to be smaller than banks, with a limited membership. Credit unions also have to make do with smaller pools of capital, when structuring their loan portfolios. As a result, they are frequently more conservative with their loan underwriting than banks are. If you have spotty credit, then, a bank may give you a loan where a credit union might not. So try a credit union first. The catch, of course, is you have to be a member to get a car loan with a credit union. Membership at Unity One is a mere $5, to open a savings account.

Disadvantages of Banks

As mentioned, banks have a substantial cost of overhead, in the form of their many branches, expansive operations, and of course, investor profits. Some very large banks have good economies of scale and can minimize the impact of their overhead on consumer fees. But no bank is going to want to cut into shareholder profits if they can help it.

Dealer Financing

The last option is, of course, dealer financing. These deals can be excellent on new cars (0 percent or 1 percent financing is tough to beat), but the picture isn’t as rosy for older cars, or for those who have less-than-stellar credit.

If you go the dealer financing route, take a look at the fine print: You need a car loan with no prepayment penalty. This means you are free to pay off the loan balance at any time, without any added fees or interest tacked on. The higher the interest rate, the more important this is.

The Lease Option

The final option, of course, is leasing rather than buying. A lease is essentially a contract to rent the car for a period of time, and to turn the car back in at the end of that contract (the lease). Lease payments tend to be lower than loan payments, because when a loan is paid, you keep the car! The loan is buying the whole car, and not just the depreciation it has during its the first few years.

In the long run, the consumer is almost always better off buying a car outright, rather than leasing. With a car loan, the pain of payments is over in 1 to 4 years, but you can be driving the car for ten years or more! With a car lease, though, your payments never stop, and you never own the car.

I would like to speak with a loan officer.
 

Credit union difference: annual meeting and elections

As a member of Unity One Credit Union, you select the leadership or members of the credit union's Board of Directors. These individuals volunteer their time (not paid) and  represent all members of the credit union when making important decisions. That's why it's important that there is an election process and you know about it.

The annual meeting is important, and your attendance is always requested. It is at this meeting, that the nominating committee, composed of three members, will present it's slate of board candidates for approval by the members present.

Annual Meeting Date, Time and Location:
April 26, 2013
12 Noon – 12:30 p.m.
Unity One Credit Union – Cray Plaza
380 Jackson Street, Third Floor Theatre
St. Paul, MN


The annual meeting alternates between Fort Worth and Saint Paul each year. The meeting will feature reports and updates from the credit union president, chairman of the Board of Directors and other credit union representatives. The nominating committee will announce the board nominees for the three open position, and the annCU family reunion color LoResual report of the treasurer for the fiscal year (ending December 31, 2012) will be presented. Any other business, as may properly come before the meeting, will also be addressed. Everyone in attendance at the annual meeting will receive a copy of the 2012 Annual Report.

Nomination Process:
Nominations may also be made by petition, signed by ONE PERCENT of the members (approximately 250 members). Elections will not be conducted by mail ballot, and there will be no nominations from the floor if only one nominee for each position has been made. Each nominee, by petition, shall submit a statement of qualifications and biographical data. The closing date for receiving any nomination petition is February 22, 2013.

To be effective, such nominations shall be accompanied by signed certificates by the nominee stating that he/she is agreeable to the nomination and will serve, if elected to office.

Any such nominations shall be filed with the: Secretary of the Board, Unity One Credit Union, 6701 Burlington Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas 76131. The secretary shall then cause such nominations, along with those of the nominating committee, to be mailed out as ballots to all members at least 35 days before the Annual Meeting and will be posted on the next business day.

Nominees for the Board of Directors:
Mary Diggs (incumbent)
Mary has been employed by BNSF Railway for over 16 years. Her experience includes work assignments in Corporate Audit, Finance and Marketing and Sales. Prior to working for the railway, Mary attended Texas Christian University where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. She has served on the Board of Directors for six years. Prior to serving on the board, Mary served on the Audit Committee for seven years, five years as Committee Chair. Her responsibilities while serving as chair included recruiting and training new Audit Committee members, serving as the main liaison between the credit union and its external auditors and the NCOS examiners and reviewing audits performed by staff. Mary currently serves on the Technology, Annual Meeting, Budget and Business Loan committees at Unity One Credit Union.


Dale Maristuen
(incumbent)
Formerly employed by Burlington Northern Santa Fe for 26 years in the Costs and Statistics Department, Dale is currently self employed as a Property Manager and Advisor. Dale has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Bemidji State University and an MBA from Mankato State University. He has been a member of Unity One Credit Union since 1972 and has served on the Board of Directors for 19 years, including eight years as Chairman. He also served as Secretary for two years and currently participates on the Education, Facilities and Growth Strategies Committees. Dale has completed 12 modules of the Volunteer Achievement Program (VAP) and is a recipient of the Edward Filene award. VAP is a training program designed to increase Directors’ skills and knowledge of credit unions. In addition to his vast experience with the credit union, Dale has experience in finance, accounting, budgeting, property management and cost analysis. His goal is to continue to work toward enhancement of the value of credit union membership through superior service and products.

Timothy (Tim) E. Savoy
(incumbent)
Formerly employed by Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Tim retired as General Director, Operations Planning and Control within the Finance department. He has been a credit union member for 48 years and has served on either the Board of Directors or Audit Committee during the past 43 years. He has previously served as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Board, as well as, various credit union committees. He has successfully completed over 30 educational modules covering credit union leadership, business management, and regulations. He believes the success of Unity One Credit Union is dependent on the strong working relationship of the Board, Staff and Committees. His number one goal is to strive for financial soundness of Unity One while providing high-quality products and services to the members at an affordable cost. He believes credit unions are in the business of helping others.

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