Did you know that in addition to low fees, great rates, and exceptional service, as a member of Valley Credit Union you’re eligible to receive dividends? Yes, it’s true!
This is a striking feature of credit union patronage, one that sets us miles (and dollars) apart from traditional banking institutions. So much so, that it really merits an entire post about this wonderful benefit.
What Are Credit Union Dividends?
Simply put, dividends are money paid out by a company or organization to a recipient. The funds for the payout come from surplus income to the business in a given time period, like a financial quarter or fiscal year.
In the case of banking institutions, money’s earned by providing financial products and services. Profits, which fund the dividends, are what’s leftover after all the institution’s expenses and other financial obligations are met.
Most banks — which often charge more for their products and services while simultaneously offering worse interest rates than VCU — operate as for-profit businesses. Rather than share the wealth it gains back with its customers and clients, they only give dividends to stockholders. This hardly seems fair or proper!
By contrast, Valley Credit Union is a non-profit organization. As such, we don’t keep excess profits — which are derived from very reasonable rates and fees — in our coffers. Instead, we disburse them to our members as dividends.
How Do Credit Union Dividends Work?
All VCU members are potentially entitled to receive dividends. There are different ways to qualify, which may include:
- Having been a member for a certain number of years
- Having direct deposit set up
- Taking out a loan
- Having money on deposit with us
- Maintaining a checking account
This said the criteria can change from one year to the next. For example, this year members with checking accounts, loans, savings balances, or 20+ years’ membership got dividend payments.
This year, over 78% of Valley Credit Union’s members received a dividend. The average payout was just over $55.
There are a few pieces here: rates, frequency, and process.
Credit union dividend rates are based on the type of account or financial instrument you hold and market forces. For example, Ownership Accounts scored a 2.5% return. Not bad at all!
Maybe you’re wondering how often do credit unions pay dividends? Or when are credit union dividends paid?
Here at VCU, ownership dividends are a once-a-year occurrence. Each year, Valley Credit Union evaluates its position and goals to decide if it makes sense to pay a dividend. For the last two years, VCU has had the great pleasure of reinvesting in its members — to the sweet tune of $550,000 ($300K for 2019 and $250K for 2020).
When dividends are paid, the money goes into a member’s Ownership Account. The member can withdraw or move the payment or leave it in the account to accrue even more interest. It really pays to be a VCU member!
Why Does Valley Credit Union Give Back To Members?
This is a loaded question! There are so many valid reasons for this practice, so let’s pick it apart a bit. Here are our main motivations:
We Appreciate You!
Dividends are a means of thanking you for your patronage! We’re ever so grateful to have you in our sphere. You deserve to know that. A little contribution to your purse is a gift that’s always in style and the right size and color.
Financial wellness impacts a person’s or family’s overall health and happiness. While having plenty of money won't assure your wellbeing, lack of sufficient resources can definitely result in you being less physically and mentally well.
Because VCU’s a community, we take a sincere interest in our members’ wellbeing. In fact, we feel it’s our duty to help members build wealth and financial stability. Offering dividends is just one way we can show this is important to us and try to accomplish this.
Putting Our Money Where Our Values Are
Like we said, Valley Credit Union is more than just a place to deposit your paycheck or get a car loan. Our members and VCU team are a big, beautiful family. We have to not only strive to care for each other but create a better world around us.
We feel, especially in current times, that paying dividends is an example of implementing social equity. It’s a way to democratize wealth, a small measure towards providing “enough” for everyone. It’s the right thing to do to make our community stronger and more resilient.
VCU’s Ready To Show You Some Love, Too
Are you ready to do your banking where it literally pays to do your banking? If so, we at Valley Credit Union are standing by to welcome you into the VCU family.
In addition to great perks — live ownership dividends — you won’t find at traditional banking institutions, we offer a wide variety of financial products and services. You’ll get to take advantage of our favorable rates, low fees, and exceptional service as well.
Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or for assistance. We’re always happy to help.
About the Author
Katie Clark, Director of Administrative Services
Katie Clark has been at Valley Credit Union since 2011. She serves as the Board Secretary and oversees Human Resources, Marketing and Facilities for the credit union, some even call her the credit union mom. As a CUNA and GoWest HR council member she stays connected with the latest industry happenings. When she’s not in the office she enjoys weekends with family & drinking wine at the Oregon coast.