Back in 2008, America experienced a large-scale national crisis. This economic collapse, which started because of multiple vulnerabilities in the financial system, is what we now refer to as “The Great Recession”. The impacts of this recession were not only felt in the U.S., but around the world. The collapse led to a wakeup call for Americans to re-evaluate who they were banking with. 

In most parts of the country, banks cut back on lending while credit unions steadily increased their lending. People took notice of this occurrence. From 2008 to 2010, credit union business lending increased a percentage of their assets, while banks business lending decreased. 

Since the Great Recession, credit unions have continued to gain American’s trust. In the past 11 years, credit unions have seen membership grow about 30% and assets increase almost 80%. People are starting to understand the benefits of banking with credit unions because of their not-for-profit status, which gives credit unions the ability to offer better services for their members, especially in times of need.

While banks use their profits to enrich their stockholders, credit unions use their profits to find opportunities to invest in their members financial situations. They do this by offering lower interest rates on loans, new products, and educational programs. All of these offerings have one purpose - to help members achieve their financial goals. This is what sets us apart; credit unions care about value creation for the community versus focusing on increasing profits. 

ALLIANCE is no different; we value serving the community. In the past few weeks, we have seen people’s lives change significantly because of the challenges due to the pandemic. Behind the scenes, we were trying to figure out ways to help the community. We noticed a great need for masks, given the shortage, and immediately partnered with Alterations Unlimited and Threads Alterations to put them to work. The masks made have been donated to nurses, hospice staff, and other medical facilities in urgent need. We wanted to do this as a way to say ‘thank you’ to the people who are risking their lives every day to serve their community, as well as keeping local businesses cash flow positive. 

For many years, credit unions have shown their commitment to serving their members and community in the best way that they can. Going through difficult challenges in the world only brings a spotlight to how we are not a typical financial institution. We see value in uplifting the community, not only in times of need.