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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Monday, Jan. 17

Presidents Day
Monday, Feb. 21



A Message From Gary

The Credit Union difference

People often say to me, “Gary, you’re in the banking business. What do you think about so-and-so.” Or I’m sometimes introduced as “This is Gary, he’s a banker.”

And I sometimes correct them (politely, of course) by saying, “No, I’m not in the banking business. I’m a ‘credit unionist’ and that’s entirely different.”

Well, maybe not entirely. Credit unions and banks both have savings and checking accounts, we both make loans, and we both have credit cards, ATM cards and online banking. But the credit union difference is clear.

It starts with our basic philosophy. We’re here to serve you, banks are here to make profits. Another essential difference is ownership; we’re not-for-profit cooperatives, owned entirely by our members. And each member, regardless of their account balance, gets an equal vote in determining the cooperative’s direction. 

Because we’re locally owned, it’s easier to focus our community involvement on what’s particularly important to our members/owners; in our case, the Trojan Family. We know our community better than a national bank ever could.

Our not-for-profit status results in direct benefits for our members. Want an example? We see checking as a service, not a profit center. So we offer a free checking account and make it easy to waive fees on others. Meanwhile, free checking is becoming extinct at banks.

Your savings currently earn almost nothing in a bank. Why? Because banks “pay” their stockholders first. Similarly, our loan rates are lower than banks’. Once again, banks have to make their shareholders happy, so their rates need to ensure profits.

And finally, credit unions cooperate. We share knowledge and resources so that small credit unions can offer mortgages and auto-buying services, as well as nationwide free ATM and shared branch networks, just like their larger counterparts. We’re not competing, we’re helping each other serve our members better... than any bank can try to.

I could go on and on — as anyone who knows me could tell you. But I usually restrain myself. However, if you meet me on the USC campus and ask me the difference between credit unions and banks, I’m always ready.

As the New Year begins, I join the USC Credit Union volunteer officials, management and staff in wishing you and your family a healthy and prosperous 2011. We look forward to serving you in the New Year.

Fight On!

Gary J. Perez

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