Credit Union Philosophy
In 1935, when credit unions were helping Americans through the Great Depression, the treasurer of a Midwestern credit union said that credit unions were "not for profit, not for charity, but for service," and that philosophy holds true today.
Credit unions continue to look out for their members’ interests and provide a level of service that is not generally available at other financial institutions. Whether it’s providing a loan to help a member cover unexpected medical bills, giving financial counselling to a member whose company closed its doors, or simply offering a better deal on a used car loan, credit unions make a difference for their members and the communities they serve.
The Credit Union Difference
Initially, it may be difficult to see the difference in the types of services offered by credit unions or banks and savings and loans. However, once you have spent time in a credit union, you will recognize that there is a world of difference in the attitude and the quality of service which credit unions provide to their members.
Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. They give consumers the choice of ownership, because they are owned by the very people they serve. Credit unions exist solely to serve their members, not to enrich an outside group of stockholders.
Credit unions are run by a board of directors, who are volunteers elected by their peers. The board of directors establish the policies of the credit union. In addition to being an owner, each member, regardless of how much he or she has on deposit, has an equal vote in director elections. Credit unions are democracy in action.
Credit unions are placed in a not-for-profit category because operating income is returned to depositors in the form of higher savings rates and lower loan rates and fees. Credit unions serve as a healthy check on the for-profit banking system. Competitive pricing by credit unions keeps pressure on the banks to increase the rates they pay on savings accounts and lower their fees and rates on loans - all to the benefit of consumers.
Commitment to Our Members
Austin Telco Federal Credit Union is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative committed to serving our member-owners with an array of high quality products and services. ATFCU fulfils its obligation to actively serve the diverse social and economic interests of our community by delivering products and services to members through a network of convenient locations and the latest technology. ATFCU strives to empower members and potential members to build strong financial futures by communicating the unique role that member-owned financial cooperatives can play in their lives. All members are treated with respect and dignity by a professional staff whose highest priority is to meet our members' monetary needs and goals in a friendly, convenient and professional manner.
ATFCU is an active partner in the communities we serve through participation in community events and support of local organizations that benefit those communities. The Credit Union philosophy of 'People Helping People' is evidenced through our ongoing commitment to benefit our members and the communities in which they live and work.
This Statement of Commitment to Members is consistent with the credit union philosophy of 'Not for Profit, Not for Charity, But for Service'; and represents the good business practices that ensure the continued financial strength of the credit union on behalf of our members.
Austin Telco Federal Credit Union offers products and services designed to enhance the well-being of members of all socioeconomic backgrounds, including our low and moderate-income members, and to promote financial literacy to all members and potential members. ATFCU returns financial value to all members who participate in our member-owned financial cooperative through products and services such as:
- Free Checking -No monthly service charge,no per check charge, no minimum balance
- Free BillPay
- Free MemberConnect online banking
- Free Mobile Banking
- Free ATMs
- Savings Account- regular savings, money market, share certificates and IRAs
- VIM Seniors Checking Accounts - no service charge, no minimum balance, free checks, other free services
- Auto Loans
- Home Equity Loans
- Mortgage Loans - FHA, VA, Conventional
- VISA Credit Card
- VISA Debit Card
- Investment Services
- Direct Deposit/Payroll Deduction
- Individual Retirement Accounts
- Notary Service
- Discount Theme Park tickets
- Austin Metro Locations
- Business Loans
ATFCU is dedicated to educating our members and potential members about the unique qualities that define the credit union philosophy and the importance of making prudent financial decisions. Electronic and printed materials celebrate the credit union difference and inform members and potential members about the benefits of membership in a financial cooperative. Information and resources to help members evaluate and compare various financial options include:
- Interactive website featuring a wide array of products and services designed to maximize the financial security of our members and potential members. Website content includes:
1. Learning Center
2. Loan and Savings Rates
3. Loans and Credit Cards
4. Financial Calculators
5. Monthly eNewsletters & Annual Reports
6. Deposit & Business Accounts
7. Investment Services
8. Branch Locations & Hours
9. Security News
10. Secure Internet Home Banking
11. Online Loan Application
- Monthly eNewsletter featuring products, services, items of interest and upcoming education opportunities
- Paper and eStatements
- Financial planning seminars
- Weekly newspaper advertising of special rates/terms available to members of ATFCU
- Annual meeting open to all members and the public to learn more about the credit union and upcoming plans
Governance and Involvement
ATFCU remains committed to the democratic principles that founded the credit union movement, including demographic representation and volunteer participation in credit union activities. As owners of the credit union our members elect our uncompensated Volunteer Board of Directors. ATFCU's Board actively participates in the policy-making process for the credit union and acts to ensure the credit union's focus on its membership. A nominating committee appointed by the Board Chairman recommends candidates for vacant seats. Board members participate in ongoing training and education throughout the year.
An independent Supervisory Committee holds the responsibility for auditing the credit union to ensure compliance with Board policies and regulatory rules. The uncompensated, volunteer Supervisory Committee meets regularly to perform select audits, accept reports from ATFCU's internal auditor, and hear results of the annual audit. One member of ATFCU's Board of Directors serves on the Supervisory Committee to act as a liaison between the two.
ATFCU embraces the value of demographic diversity in its staff and volunteers and strives to bring people of diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership and other roles within the credit union. ATFCU is an Equal Opportunity Employer, hiring qualified candidates without regard to race, creed, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin and works to represent the communities in which we operate. All facilities are equipped to accommodate members with disabilities; many are staffed with bilingual employees.
Commitment to the Credit Union Movement and Other Cooperative Activities
ATFCU is committed 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 other appropriate public forums. Senior staff and Board members participate in local, state and national cooperative activities as appropriate and serve on a variety of boards and committees for credit union related organizations.
As an active member of the Texas Credit Union League and Austin Chapter of Credit Unions, ATFCU partners with other credit unions in the true cooperative spirit. The Alliance of Austin Credit Unions is a network of free ATM's set up by Austin-area credit unions. As a member of the Alliance, our members have access to over 300 local and state-wide ATM's at no cost. CUBusiness Solutions, a joint venture with 6 other local credit unions, gives ATFCU's small business members access to commercial loans from an experienced team of business lending professionals.
Public Service / Corporate Citizenship
ATFCU strives to be an active partner in the communities we serve. Direct financial support and other in-kind contributions to worthwhile local clubs, associations and other public service organizations exemplify the 'People Helping People' philosophy of the credit union movement. Involvement by staff and volunteers in local civic and public service organizations serves to strengthen ties with the community and increase the opportunity to reach out and serve, as only credit unions can, those people in greatest need of affordable financial services.