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We've partnered with "Washington State Employees Credit Union" for the past year to bring you and your family the information you need to make your financial lives easier. We are so excited that many of our New Day viewers have contected WSECU to take advantage of their extremely valuable "Financial Wellness Program".

Many of you have also emailed in to ask questions, the most common being "What is the difference between credit unions and just traditional banks?" Suzanne Klenk from WSECU joined Margaret to talk about the similarities and differences between the two.

For more information about Washington State Employees Credit Union, visit their website: www.wsecu.org. Find them on Facebook. Follow them on Twitter: @WSECU

You can also email Suzanne with your financial questions, or to schedule a FREE financial workshop for your business or organization: SKlenk@wsecu.org

Here's more information about the topic Suzanne discussed today:

There are significant differences between credit unions and traditional banks; although I think it is important to first acknowledge our similarities.We look the same from the outside looking in:Brick and mortar, and teller windows.We offer many of the same services:Savings accounts, Checking accounts, Safe Deposit Boxes, Money Market Accounts, Mortgage Services, Investment Services, Online Services, etc. You can find all of these and more at WSECU and most traditional banks.Full-service financial institutions… but that is where we part ways.

There are two distinct differences between WSECU and a bank:Cooperative Ownership and Philosophy.

Cooperative Ownership

We are member owned and governed.Our Board of Directors is comprised of volunteers and is elected by the entire membership.Each member, regardless of the size of his/her account, has one vote.

Philosophy

WSECU and all Credit Unions are cooperatives and therefore governed by a set of seven Cooperative Principles:

Voluntary and Open Membership:

To be a part of a Credit Union, you must become a member or an owner.$5 in a share or savings account is your "Share" or piece of ownership.

Democratic Member Control:

Credit unions elect a Board of Directors to oversee the operations of WSECU.Every member has one vote, much like our local and national voting system.

Members' Economic Participation:

When you join a credit union, you place $5 in a share account and this is your portion.This contributes to the capital or deposits and gives you a vote.

Autonomy and Independence:

Credit Unions are Autonomous, or self sufficient.We rely on each other and our membership. Public or taxpayer funds are not used in the running of credit unions.

Education, Training and Information:

WSECU provides financial education to its membership.This ensures the financial well being of the membership as a whole which contributes to the financial wellbeing of the credit union.One does not exist without the other.

Cooperation among Cooperatives:

Credit Unions are not in competition with each other.We work together to provide services in a convenient and affordable manner.The most clear-cut example is Shared Branching.Members can enter any credit union that is a partner and do transactions in their own account with a different credit union.This service is offered worldwide!You can be in Mexico and walk into a credit union that is a Shared Branching partner and do transactions in your WSECU account!It is fantastic!

Concern for Community:

This one is near and dear to our hearts.WSECU, while continuing the focus on member needs, also reaches out to educate the community with regard to financial wellness.We were just voted number one in Thurston County for Philanthropy Excellence.I am also proud to say that this is not just a corporate philosophy, but one that is shared by WSECU employees as well!

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