Our Members Make Change, Simply by Banking

All credit unions are rooted in the seven cooperative principles and a philosophy of people helping people.

At VSECU, we don’t stop there. In 2016, we became the first credit union in the United States to become a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values. As part of this alliance, we hold the standards of values-based banking, which focuses on people, planet, and prosperity rather than profit alone. Learn about the Global Alliance and review some key figures used to assess our work as a values-based financial institution. As part of the Global Alliance, our roots have grown to include the principles of values-based banking.


HOW DO WE MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON PEOPLE, PLANET, AND PROSPERITY?

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By recirculating wealth through local communities
Buying locally keeps money in our communities. The VERMONT Platinum credit card rewards members for making Vermont-based purchases by offering a lower interest rate for in-state purchases.

Find out how the credit union model supports the recirculation of wealth in local communities.
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By focusing on the real economy
The real economy is the part of the economy that produces “real” goods and services. In other words, when you buy a chair from a local store, that’s the real economy in action. When we provide loans to local businesses, we’re supporting that real economy. If we sold those loans to a third party, that would represent a move into the financial economy. We focus on real economy transactions whenever possible, because they directly meet the needs of our members.
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By developing products that support the environment
Our VGreen program is a suite of loan and deposit products. The low-interest loans reduce the overall cost of investing in solar and energy efficiency projects for members. And our VGreen Money Market account allows members to earn a competitive interest rate on deposits that are used to fund VGreen loans!
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By returning credit union profits to members
The prosperity of our membership is important to us. As a not for profit credit union, we return member equity through lower rates on loans, higher rates on savings, and low fees.
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By engaging in relationships that help members save money
The Home Energy Loan was developed in coordination with Efficiency Vermont. The loan provides special, discounted rates to low- to moderate-income Vermonters on financing for weatherization and home heating improvements.
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By financing small, local businesses
Small businesses often struggle to get loans through larger lending institutions. By supporting these small, local businesses, we support economic growth through job creation. How does this work? As a young business grows and offers additional jobs within the community, more local employees receive paychecks that they are likely to spend locally. This spreads wealth to local businesses and, ultimately, to local people, increasing the wealth of the overall community.
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By supporting economic inclusion
Economic inclusion ensures that those who are struggling financially can find affordable products and services that meet their needs.

You can’t get far in today’s world without credit. Members with low credit, whether they’re just starting out or have lost credit worthiness over time, can improve their credit score with our Credit Builder loan.

VSECU partners with businesses around Vermont who want to help their employees through tough times. We currently have five unique programs (one program per business) that enable businesses to back short-term, low-interest loans to employees who need immediate funds.
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By creating a transparent and collaborative internal culture
Increasing the joy of our members begins with taking care of our employees. Our internal values are to be real, be human, be brave, be playful, and be selfless. The values have helped us break down silos and build a community of team players who work collaboratively to meet members’ needs.

WHAT ARE OUR VALUES?

Our values are the things we believe are important. What do we think is important? Our values are based on the seven principles of cooperative banking and the principles of values-based banking. Here they are!

SEVEN COOPERATIVE PRINCIPLES

  1. Voluntary and open membership
  2. Democratic member control
  3. Members’ economic participation
  4. Autonomy and independence
  5. Education, training, and information
  6. Cooperation among cooperatives
  7. Concern for community

PRINCIPLES OF VALUES-BASED BANKING

  1. An approach that keeps people, planet, and prosperity at the heart of the business model
  2. Grounded in communities, serving the real economy and enabling new business models to meet the needs of both
  3. Long-term relationships with clients and a direct understanding of their economic activities and the risks involved
  4. Long-term, self-sustaining, and resilient to outside disruptions
  5. Transparent and inclusive governance
  6. All of these principles embedded in the culture of the financial institution


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