When you join SF Police Credit Union, you’re actually an owner of a financial cooperative with a shared purpose of promoting the financial growth and well-being of its members while also serving the community at large. Do you have a friend, colleague or family member who is eligible to join SFPCU but is not exactly sure what a credit union is, how it operates, and the various advantages that are available to our members? Here’s an overview that should provide some clarity:
A history shaped by mutual assistance: Back in 1953, a group of San Francisco police officers opened SFPCU to avoid the high cost of borrowing money from loan companies and banks—leveraging their combined funds to provide low-cost loans and meet their mutual financial needs as law enforcement professionals. As SFPCU grew and broadened its field of membership to include other California first responders and their families, the credit union was able to expand its offerings to provide even greater value for its members with an ever-evolving array of new financial products and services.
Owned and controlled by the people: A credit union is a financial cooperative, under which each member has one vote in electing a volunteer board of directors to help manage the organization. Members may also run for election to the board. Due to this structure, all SFPCU members have a say in how their credit union is managed regardless of how much money they have on deposit. In contrast, a bank is owned and controlled by stockholders, who may or may not be depositors. Under a bank’s structure, stockholders with more shares exert greater influence in electing board members, and customers do not have voting rights or the opportunity to be elected to the board.
Profits returned to members: While a bank pays out its declared earnings to stockholders, your credit union pools the financial resources of its members in order to create profits that are passed on to members in the form of higher returns on savings, lower rates on loans, and reduced fees. Unlike a bank, a credit union does not depend on outside capital to finance its growth, but instead leverages funds on deposit in members’ savings accounts to make competitively priced loans to members. It is the income earned from the interest on loans that provides the financial resources for credit unions to improve their products, services and technology needed for future success.
A purpose-driven organization: As an SFPCU member, you’re an integral part of a dedicated effort to create a positive impact on the community. Like many credit unions, SFPCU has a proud history of giving back—continually raising funds and awareness for many worthy causes and essential services to improve the lives of those in need. Just a few of the organizations and events SFPCU supports with donations of time and money are the SF-Marin Food Bank, California Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation, Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) for Special Olympics, AIDS Walk San Francisco, and Operation DREAM (run by the San Francisco Police Department) and The San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program.
Focus on convenience: As a credit union that was founded by law enforcement professionals and has served first responders for more than sixty years, SFPCU understands the importance of making convenience a priority for those with busy and unpredictable schedules. We’re continually investing in the most current technologies that enable our members to connect with us wherever and whenever necessary in order to take care of business. Among our secure, user-friendly online and mobile services are email and text alerts, Mobile Deposit, Bill Pay, and a Person-to-Person Payment System that allows members to quickly transfer funds to someone outside of the SFPCU network. Our Online Banking platform is designed for optimal display regardless of whether our members choose to use their computer, tablet or smartphone to monitor their accounts or perform transactions.
Now is a great time to join: As we build our membership, we strengthen our capacity to serve our members with products and other services to help them prosper. Attracting new members is critical for our future healthy growth as a financial cooperative—and right now we’re providing extra incentives for existing members to refer new members, and for new members to join!
Now through July 31, 2016, our members can receive $25 for each eligible new member they refer who opens a checking account with SFPCU, and SFPCU will deposit $25 into the new member’s account as the opening deposit for membership. Plus, the newly referred member will receive an additional $50 if they open a Global ATM Checking Account* which requires a minimum $500 monthly direct deposit starting within 60 days of account opening. For details including restrictions on our Member Referral Program, please visit us at https://www.sfpcu.org/referral