The Credit Union Difference
Why Join a Credit Union Instead of a Bank?
Because of the Credit Union Difference…a difference in ownership, a difference in governance, a difference in service, and a difference in philosophy!
What Makes Us “Different”?
As a credit union, Richland Federal is a not-for-profit cooperative financial institution serving people who share a common bond (also known as a “Field of Membership”). That common bond can be a place of work, a community, geographic area or an association.
The financial cooperative structure means that a Credit Union’s members agree to pool their savings (i.e. their individual membership Savings Share of $50.00) in order to offer loans, savings, dividends and financial services to other members. And, unlike banks, where profits are paid to stockholders, your credit union’s “profits” are returned to you and fellow members in the form of better rates, lower fees and superior service.
A credit union’s members are the owners. As an owner, you have a voice. Credit unions are democratically owned and controlled institutions.
Credit Union officers, directors, committee members are all volunteers elected by the credit union membership and serve without pay. Each member has an equal vote, regardless of how much he or she has on deposit.
Credit unions have no outside stockholders, so after reserves are set aside, earnings are returned to members in the form of higher dividends on savings, lower loan rates and low cost services.
A credit union’s sole purpose is to serve our members, in good times or in bad. “People Helping People” is the credit union philosophy worldwide and all benefits of membership are for that purpose.
People Helping People
As a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative, Richland Federal Credit Union is committed to our members. We will uphold our fundamental responsibility to actively serve people within our field of membership, and as appropriate, the communities they live in. We will treat all members with respect and dignity and we will offer honest, fair deals to all members at all times. We will deliver a range of low cost products and services to the diverse economic and social make-up of our members and potential membership. And we will continually, in all facets of operations, demonstrate the value of membership in Richland Federal Credit Union.
We will monitor and communicate our service to members in a meaningful way so that members, potential members, legislators, regulators, and the community at large will understand and appreciate the unique role that member-owned financial cooperatives play in their lives.
Throughout Richland Federal Credit Union’s strategic plan, we will put forth every effort to enable our members to become financially self-sufficient and successful. We will place high importance on consumer education and the teaching of financial thrift.
This Statement of Commitment to Members is consistent with our credit union principles of “Not For Profit, Not For Charity, But For Service” and our philosophy of “People Helping People”. This statement represents good business practices that ensure the financial strength of our credit union on behalf of our members.
In May 2000, Richland Federal Credit Union’s Board of Directors adopted our “Statement of Commitment”. This document will become a living testimony for us. We invite you to drop in our office and read or take one home to be read and even maybe pass it on to a non-member. This is just another way of demonstrating the Credit Union Difference.
Statement of Commitment to Members:
Section 1: Service to Members
Richland Federal Credit Union strives to offer services designed to improve the economic and social well being of all members from all socio-economic backgrounds, including our low-and moderate-income members, and return financial value to all those who participate in our member-owned financial cooperative. Current Services that Help Improve the Economic and Social Well Being of Members:
- Pee Wee Penguin Young Savers Club – Youth membership club targeted at children ages 0-13. Membership in the program promotes savings and good money management for our youth. The program encourages savings by rewarding those efforts. Club members receive a quarterly newsletter with savings tips and various contests. Club members also receive a birthday card.
- Youth Accounts – Youth membership accounts for youth ages 14-21. These accounts require a smaller par value than the adult accounts.
- Voice Response – Account access 24 hours a day via the telephone. Members can have access to their account information and transfer funds.
- Free Checking Accounts – This account requires no minimum balance and allows members to write up to 74 checks per month with no fee.
- Term Share Certificates/IRA’s – We continue to offer some of the most competitive rates around. Our certificates’ terms are from three months to eighteen months, which allows our members several options when choosing the length of their investments.
- Richland Federal Credit Union VISA Program – This program offers our members the flexibility of a VISA with a low interest rate and no annual fee. The card offers the same convenience as other programs without all the hidden charges.
- Signature Loans – Loans are secured by the borrower’s signature. These loans are a feasible alternative for those members who are unable to provide collateral for the loan.
- Christmas Big Bucks Program – Christmas loans are made on a nine-month, no interest basis to qualified members. This allows members to borrow money (script money that can only be used at participating merchants) for the holidays and spread the payments out over a longer period of time. This is a very popular loan promotion and promotes the idea of shopping locally.
- Home Equity Loans – Allows our members to borrow money using their home as collateral and possibly getting a tax deduction.
- Member Business Loans – Agricultural operating loans to our members.
- ATM Cards – cards designed for cash withdrawals.
- Master Card Check Card – the do everything card that is free and accesses your checking account.
- ATM Machine – Located conveniently close to main building, giving members access to their funds 24 hours day.
- Bluebook Values – Current market values for vehicles given to members when buying a new vehicle.
- IRA Accounts – Traditional, Roth, and Educational IRA’s are offered to our members.
Section II: Member Education
Richland Federal Credit Union is committed to member and consumer financial education; in addition we are committed to educating members and consumers, alike, about credit union uniqueness, philosophy, and values. Current Programs that Support Member Education and Advocacy:
- Quarterly Newsletter Articles – Each quarter our newsletter contains valuable education for members related to credit union uniqueness and philosophy, and other timely topics. We are committed to more newsletter education and less advertising of products and services.
- STAR Program – The Staff Training and Recognition Program is available to all employees. This program gives the staff additional information on the history, philosophy and evolution of the credit union movement. It also teaches employees about various positions and their functions within the credit union.
- Career Fair – The Montana Job Service sponsors an annual Career Fair at the Sidney Senior High School. We have had a booth and shared information on career opportunities with credit unions.
- Local Media – Advertising throughout the year on credit union services and philosophies.
- High Schools – Have talked to various high schools on the difference between Credit Unions and banks.
- Co-op Day at the Richland Co. Fair and Rodeo.
- Annual Meeting – Education about their credit union.
- Identify Theft – newsletter article on how to protect from identify theft.
- Senior Citizens – The Richland County Senior Citizens will be hosting the annual convention. RFCU will be giving a speech to the audience.
Section III: Involvement/Governance
Richland Federal Credit Union will endeavor to preserve credit union democratic principles, including demographic representation and volunteer participation in credit union activities. Current Programs that support Involvement/Governance:
- Board Elections – All board members are voted in at our Annual Meeting, which is held each year, usually in January or February.
- Board Nominations – Each year Richland Federal Credit Union has one or two seats available for election, depending on the year. In a typical year, between 2-3 members will place their names for nomination.
- Chapter Meetings – Strong volunteer attendance at local meetings. One meeting’s agenda is to meet Montana’s legislators.
- VAP – The Volunteer Achievement Program is available to all volunteers. This program gives the volunteers additional information on the uniqueness, philosophy, and history of the credit union movement.
- Asset Liability Committee – Committee comprised of manager, staff and two volunteers.
- Safety Committee – Committee comprised of manager, staff and board member.
- Membership Officer – Board member who monitors the member’s eligibility to join the credit union.
- Conference Attendance – Volunteers are encouraged to attend conferences to further their knowledge of credit unions.
- Government Affairs Conference – Annual conference in Washington D.C., meets with legislators.
Section IV: Diversity
Richland Federal Credit Union recognizes the value of demographic diversity in staff as well as in volunteers, and will strive to bring people of diverse backgrounds and experiences into leadership and other roles at the credit union. Current Programs that Promote Diversity:
- Equal Employment Opportunity – Richland Federal Credit Union actively seeks to fill vacancies by hiring qualified candidates without regard to race, creed, religion, or socioeconomic status, seeking to represent the community in which we operate.
- Volunteers are geographically, diversified within the field of membership.
- Community Charter – no segregation of low-income families. Our community charter provides service to all levels of income within our Field of Membership.
Section V: Commitment to the Credit Union Movement and other Cooperative Activities
Richland Federal Credit Union will work to build and strengthen our unique credit union movement by providing financial and in-kind resources to others within the credit union community, and by actively advocating the credit union difference at all levels of government and in other appropriate public forums. In addition, Richland Federal Credit Union will participate in local, state and national cooperative activities as appropriate, and will strive to build and strengthen relationships with other sectors of the national cooperative movement.
Current Activities that Support the Credit Union Movement:
- Leadership Roles – Richland Federal Credit Union’s staff members serve on various boards and committees for both credit union related and community oriented organizations: Nemont Chapter President, Treasure State Corporate Credit Union Board of Directors, Richland Co. Fair and Rodeo, Sidney Chamber Sports and Recreation, Lions Club, and Walleyes Unlimited.
- Continuing Education for Staff – Richland Federal Credit Union helps pay for post-high school education so that employees may further their careers in the credit union movement.
- League and CUNA Mutual Group
- Filene Research Institute
- National Credit Union Week
- Data provider for credit unions only
- Credit union to credit union – Participation loans, educational training, certificate purchases, and sharing of policies.
- Member of MT Council of Cooperatives
- Member of MT Credit Union Network – attendance at Annual Meeting
Section VI: Public Service/Corporate Citizenship
Through direct financial support or other in-kind contributions to worthwhile local organizations, and by participating in public service activities, Richland Federal Credit Union strives to be an active partner in our community. We recognize that practicing good Corporate Citizenship supports the Credit Union Philosophy of People Helping People. Furthermore, it will help raise the overall level of social and economic well being of those in our community, help to strengthen ties within the community, and better position us to reach out and serve – as only credit unions can – those people in greatest need of affordable financial services.
Community/FOM Groups Currently Receiving Financial or Other In-Kind Support (including the support given) and Current Public Service Activities:
- Richland County Food Bank
- American Cancer Society
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- March of Dimes Walk-a-thon
- Area Post Prom Parties
- Sidney Youth Sports
- Area Chamber of Commerces
- Foundation for Community Care
- Area High School Annuals
- Lions Club International
- MonDak Heritage Center
- Boy and Girl Scouts
- Richland Co. Youth Hockey
- Richland Co. Youth Rodeo
- Sidney Saddle Club
- Youth Theatre Retreat
- Lone Tree Archers
- Senior Citizens
- Walleyes Unlimited
- Lovegren Scholarship Tournament
- Apples for Teachers
- Meals on Wheels
- Farmers’ Market
- Booster Clubs
- Fairview Old Timers Reunion
- Ag Days
- Sidney Gymnastics
- State Youth Rodeo
- American Petroleum Invitational Golf Tournament
- Ag Appreciation Golf Tournament
- Sidney Jaycees
- Sidney National Honor Society
- Richland Economic Development
- Sidney’s Parade of Lights
- Sidney’s Sunrise Festival of the Arts
- Cottonwood Club
- Roosevelt County Fair
- Culbertson Community Fund Drive
- After Graduation Party
- Culbertson Baseball Program
- Culbertson Museum Club
- Froid Scholarship Tournament
- Culbertson Saddle Club
- Northeast Montana Threshing Bee
- Roosevelt Memorial Healthcare Foundation
Get in touch with us
If you’d like to know more, please get in touch with one of our team members. Take a moment to fill out this form in order for us to promptly meet your needs.