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The traditional business model provides products and services in hopes of making a profit—but another model is available to consumers: the co-op. “The Great Recession has caused a lot of people in this country to rethink their relationships with big businesses,” says Michael Beall, president and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association. Washington, D.C. This rethinking is shining a bright light on cooperatives.

Member owners

Cooperatives are organizations where members contribute to the capital of the business and democratically control its operations, explains Brendon Smith, director of communications at Willy Street [Grocery] Co-op in Madison, Wis. Members are more than just consumers—they are owners who shape the organization itself.

The cooperative business model crosses many different types of activities—from agriculture to health care, housing to banking. SIU Credit Union is a cooperative. “Throughout the United States, approximately 29,000 cooperatives serve 100 million members,” explains Bill Oemichen, President and CEO of Cooperative Network.

Building community

Co-ops like SIU Credit Union are, by design, formed and run to benefit not only their own members’ bottom lines, but the health of the community in which they operate as well. By taking a long view when it comes to goals and mission, co-ops make a positive impact on neighborhoods and cities.
“People want a couple of things,” sums up Beall. “They want to deal with people locally and know that they are helping to keep jobs in their local community. They want good service. They want to be sure that what they are consuming is organic, in a sense.

SIU Credit Union is proud to be cooperatively run and proud to call you our members. Stop by or call today at 800-449-7301

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