Credit Unions: The Cheese Curds of the Financial Industry [Part 3]

Hey, it’s you again! Great to see you back here for the third installment of our Blog series! Oh, wait, did you just wander in out of the cold? Check out #1 and #2 first to experience all of our cheesy goodness.

Ready? It’s time to get down to the good stuff.

Part 3: Cheese Curds just want you to be happy.

Yes, we are about to tell you that we think we understand the motivation of a Cheese Curd. We’ve done a lot of research on this point and aren’t ashamed to claim to be experts. If you’ve met a Cheese Curd, you know that happy little joy package wants nothing more than to satisfy you. Cheese Curds understand that you have other options for cheese, they get it, but they still believe they’re the best choice for pure happiness. They’re the loving clowns of the cheese universe (but only if you don’t think clowns are scary, otherwise please ignore that last bit.).

Meanwhile, in Credit Union Land, we want you to be happy too, but that really doesn’t even scratch the surface. You’ve heard “The customer is always right” and “Treat them like they’re paying your paycheck” and all of those homey old customer service mantras, right? Yeah, that’s serious stuff for Credit Unions, people.

You see, we’re not-for-profit financial cooperatives owned and controlled by our membership. A tongue twister that here means “Treat your members like they own the place because THEY ACTUALLY DO”. For real. For SUPER-REAL.

That first $5 or so that you deposit into your local CU is called your “Share” because, well, it’s your ACTUAL SHARE in the Credit Union. That first deposit gives you voting rights as a member (What will you vote on? See Part Two for those details) and is the first baby step to investing not just in your future, but the futures of your friends, neighbors, and people you’ve never even met but are CU members just like you.

Because fantastic people just like you trust their Credit Unions with their hard-earned cash, we get the opportunity to do fantastic things. Things like loaning money to your best friend who thought he would have to drive a car with duct tape on the window (and bumper, and holding the radio in) until the wheels fell off. Or to your cousin and her husband who didn’t even know that could afford to buy a house and get out of that apartment that always smells a little like fried fish.

In fact, we work hard to use the money you invest in us in such outstandingly brilliant ways that we can turn it into even more money. What do we do with that money? We invest it back into the CU so we can stay financially fit and deliver things like great rates, cool tech, and the same products you can get from our much larger, for-profit, cousins (Uncles? Granddads? We’re not sure. Feel free to insert your own metaphor here).

So, yes, we want you to be happy, like your friend the Cheese Curd, but (not literally) on steroids.

A Final Thought

Ok, we think you might be a little skeptical right now.  Maybe you’re thinking that even though we talk a good game (Hey, thanks, we do, don’t we?) there are just purely some things that Cheese Curds can’t do. Like, what about CHEESEBURGERS? You NEED the other, precisely shaped “cheese” thing for your burger, right?

Yeeaahhh, we get that a lot. Metaphorically speaking anyway.

One of the stickiest myths is that Credit Unions can’t REALLY compare to the big guys because we can’t DO what THEY DO. Seriously, you all, it’s just not true.

Here are some examples of what we mean:

  • U.S. Credit Unions originates $17.9 billion (that’s Billion, with a ‘B’) in home equity and second mortgages in the first half of 2017*.
  • We also saw an increase of 15.5% in business lending** nationwide. With average loans around $200K, CUs support growing businesses in your neighborhood and help them keep the lights on every day.
  • The Co-Op Shared Branch Network gives the members of participating CUs the advantage of the second largest branch network in the US. You heard that right, friend. With over 5,600 branch locations (and 30,000 ATMs nationwide) that’s more places to get your business done than 3 of the top 4 big banks!
  • In 2017, Simplicity CU (that’s us) added Member to Member and Peer to Peer payments, palm vein authentication, and Personal Teller Machines to the long list of smart tech we offer, and we did it all in time for your Labor Day cookout.

And those are just the first 4 things we thought of. Sure, different financials of all sizes offer different products and services based on what they think people want/need, but it’s really like saying you HAVE to use that weird, orangey cellophane flavored slice of “cheese” on your burger because it does everything you need.

Speaking of which, may we submit for your consideration:

The cheeseburger:




This Cheesecurd Burger is from Nutz Deep II, Marshfield, WI. (That's officially the most Wisconsin thing we've ever written.)

*Credit Union Trends Report  -  CUNA Mutual Group, September 2017

**Credit Unions: Member Business Loans See Substantial Growth –