Why I am an LFCU Member
9/28/2016- Ken Krueger (Guest Blogger)
As I think about the history of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), I see a tradition of innovation. On October 2, 1930, for example, the first Lutheran Hour® radio program was aired, spreading the Gospel message using the young technology of broadcast radio. The program continues today and is broadcast across the world in more than 80 languages. As another example, in 1952 the International Lutheran Layman’s League ventured into television with “This Is the Life.” This 36-year television series featured dramatizations of contemporary problems and how they were resolved using a Christian solution. These are but two examples of a history of innovation in the LCMS, a tradition that continues today in the Lutheran Federal Credit Union (LFCU).
In December 2014, after years of research and planning by the leaders of the LCMS and the Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF), LFCU was chartered by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which both regulates the financial soundness of LFCU and insures its accounts. Put differently, the NCUA gave LFCU the “go ahead” to move forward. And move forward it has! Since its “official” opening earlier this year, more than 1,600 members of the LCMS also have become members of LFCU.
I am one of those individuals. Admittedly, I am a board member for LFCU, so it might be easy to assume that there is a link. In fact, there is! I am both a member of LFCU and serve on its board of directors for the same reason: I love the mission, ministry and savviness of LFCU!
Let me be more specific. LFCU was formed to benefit the members, organizations and ministries of the LCMS. Every member and organization of the LCMS, on some level, engages in financial transactions, including transactions in savings accounts, checking accounts, credit cards, home loans, auto loans, or personal loans. Structurally, a credit union offers its individual and organizational members a substantial advantage over engaging in these same financial transactions with a for-profit bank. As a federally chartered non-profit organization, a credit union is not beholden to disinterested shareholders, but rather to its members – those who save with or borrow from the organization. A credit union does not pay dividends, taxes or salaries to board members. Rather, it uses its structural advantages to offer benefits to its members, such as competitive savings and loan rates.
But that still is not the full reason I love LFCU. What I truly love about the innovation that is LFCU is that it is an entity of and for the LCMS. When members of the LCMS use LFCU for their financial transactions, funds are kept within the LCMS. When funds are kept within the LCMS, members and ministries benefit.
Let me give you an example. Nearly every adult has at least one credit card. Credit card companies are in business because credit card transactions generate fees. When LCMS members use an LFCU credit card, a portion of those fees are kept within the LCMS, creating the ability to fund ministries. Furthermore, while bank-based credit cards often charge interest rates of 21% or more, the LFCU offers a flat rate of 8.99%. Obviously, reducing the interest rate by half is better for an LCMS member! Furthermore, even those individuals who always pay their bills in full and never carry a credit card balance contribute to the LCMS by engaging in transactions that they would do anyway, transactions that keep funds within the church so that they might benefit ministries that proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
Currently my wife Amy and I have a savings account, a checking account, a credit card and two auto loans through LFCU. We have done this partly because LFCU provides competitive rates and great benefits to us. But even more so, we have done this because LFCU is a blessing of and for the church. Put differently, LFCU is an innovative win-win!