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Ensweiler Op-Ed in CU Insight: CUs Are More Than Financial Partners
Tuesday, August 11, 2015 6:55 AM

In yesterday's CU Insight magazine, Cornerstone Credit Union League President and CEO Dick Ensweiler offers readers a look at the cooperative financial model versus banks.

"Before the existence of credit unions in the United States, banks had only commercial interests in mind," Ensweiler writes. "Banks were not concerned with consumers, small systematic savers, or lending to people unless they had $3 of collateral for every dollar they wanted to borrow."

In that desertous environment, Ensweiler says, the need manifested and credit unions were formed. "They trusted consumers with credit cards and pioneered interest-bearing checking accounts when the banks were protesting that they could not afford to do so, should not be compelled to do so, and lobbied so that credit unions could not do so either."

Ensweiler expands the concept to a global perspective, saying the role credit unions play in developing countries and in countries emerging from repressive governments has been expanded due to the World Council of Credit Unions which helps people to form their own financial cooperatives.

Such outreach is the embodiment of credit unions, Ensweiler writes, highlighting some of Cornerstone's own outreach initiatives, which have expanded to include Juntos Avanzamos, or “Together We Advance." Juntos Avanzamos helps empower financial institutions that remove barriers to service and strive to improve the financial condition of the underserved Hispanic population through the delivery of affordable financial programs and services.

"Credit unions have always been the economic engine that allowed people to take control of their financial destiny," Ensweiler writes, "and we hold firm and true to that responsibility today, despite banks’ dogged efforts to unravel our system and our success. Together, we do advance."