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What does it mean to be a credit union member?

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When credit unions profit, so do you

There are over 5,000 credit unions in the United States (and more than 57,000 worldwide), yet many misconceptions about the structure and services (including digital tools) of credit unions still exist.

The concept of membership is exactly what sets SELCO and other credit unions apart from other financial institutions. The term “member” reflects your credit union’s commitment to co-operative values (like community giving) and shapes your entire banking experience.

“At SELCO, we’re not conflicted about who we serve—we exist exclusively for our member-owners,” said Bob Newcomb, SELCO President & CEO.

There are many benefits of being a credit union member-owner—here are a few highlights.

Safety and Soundness

There’s no safer place to keep your money than with a federally insured credit union. SELCO accounts are fully insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund up to $250,000. (No American has ever lost a penny on their insured accounts at any federal insured credit union in the US.) Not only that, but our regulatory examiners rate SELCO among the strongest credit unions in the Pacific Northwest. Throughout SELCO’s 84-year history—from the throes of the Great Depression to today—we’ve served our members without interruption. Helping you through financial ups and downs is our very reason for existing. You can count on that to continue.


The main difference between banks and credit unions is their ownership—banks are owned by investors, while credit unions are member-owned (this makes them financial co-operatives). When you join a credit union, you make a small deposit, which buys you a common share in your credit union. As a shareholder, you officially own a part of your credit union, which gives you access to many benefits (like access to a network of over 5,000 branch and ATM locations through Shared Branching).

Governed by members, for members

The SELCO Board of Directors oversees management and sets the strategic direction of the credit union. All members of the volunteer board are SELCO members—and the member is at the center of their decision making. This is done by remaining grounded in our roots and firm in our mission, values, and guiding principles.

"The heart of any credit union is the staff and our members."


At SELCO, we have a wide array of digital tools that allow you to set up your own virtual branch. Our online and mobile resources are safe, secure, easy to use, and help minimize wait times. Pay your SELCO loans and other bills, deposit checks with your device’s camera, schedule phone and video appointments, and more without needing to leave the house.

We urge you to take advantage of these digital offerings.

When credit unions profit, so do you

As a shareholder, you benefit from your credit union’s success in the form of lower fees and better interest rates. That shared success goes both ways—your credit union is invested in your financial well-being, too. This translates into helpful financial resources, sincere advice, and top-notch customer service.

“Having been a credit union member since I was 13 years old and working at a credit union for 24 years, I would say the best thing about credit unions is the people,” said Landry Cummings, Downtown Branch Manager at SELCO. “We are known for our great rates on deposits and loans, but the real heart of any credit union is the staff and our members.”

As member-owned financial institutions, credit unions prosper with their members.

Being a credit union member means you share your financial institution’s ownership, vision, and profits. It gives you the opportunity to shape your personal banking experience, as well as the impact your banking has on your local community. Membership at SELCO has meaning and value. It’s not equivalent to being a customer at another financial institution—it’s a complete alternative.

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