GCS Credit Union
GCS is a full-service financial institution serving the following counties in Illinois: Sangamon, Logan, Macon, Marion, Jefferson, Perry, Jackson, Williamson, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Monroe, Washington and Randolph.

How Do Credit Unions Differ from Other Financial Institutions?

Credit union building with sign

Credit unions are unlike any other financial institution and offer more privileges and control to their members. Here are a few ways you can benefit from banking with a credit union rather than a traditional bank:

  • Members Verses Customers

One major difference between credit unions and other financial institutions is that credit unions have members rather than customers. When a person opens an account at a credit union, he is considered to have a share in the ownership of the institution. Plus, members are given a voice in day-to-day operations. Bank customers, on the other hand, are controlled by a group of investors who establish policies that affect their return on investment.

  • Volunteers Verses Investors

Member-run credit unions are democratically controlled by a volunteer board of directors. Each director is voted for by other members. At other financial institutions, investors are the only people who have voting and committee privileges. This means that banking customers can’t vote on directors and have no authority on how their bank is governed. If you’ve ever been upset with your bank because they raised the overdraft fee or account operating fee, you can appreciate the value of having a voice in your financial institution.

  • Non-Profit Verses For-Profit

Credit unions are non-profit organizations that pay profits to their members once expenses are paid and the necessary reserves are set aside. These profits are often given to members in the form of higher dividends, lower interest rates, or low-cost services. Banking institutions only share their profits with their investors.

  • Pay-As-You-Go

Most credit unions are pay-as-you-go institutions that are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. The pay-as-you-go system prevents the accumulation of annual losses, which reduces the risk of ever having to use taxpayers' money. Banks don’t operate under a pay-as-you-go system, and therefore, recently had to be bailed out with millions of taxpayer dollars.

At GCS Federal Credit Union, we encourage our members to participate in the governance of our financial institution. To become a member and learn more about our organization, visit our website or call us at (618) 797-7993.

Join Us in Supporting Love Handles Local Area Food Drive Center!

Help us support "Love Handles" local area food drive! Just $5 benefits over 30 local food banks! Visit either of the following websites for more information:

Shop n' Save:http://www.shopnsave.com/savings/promosweeps.jsp

The Arch:http://www.1065thearch.com/category/lovehandles2012

Love Handles Food Drive

Learn More about Managing Your Finances with These Comprehensive Resources!

Piggy bank with dollars banknotes

If you would like to learn more about financing a home loan, teaching your children about money, or getting smarter about your finances, look through the list of resources below.

  • If you’re drowning in debt, use Oprah’s two-phase, eight-step program to pay off your debt and get back in control of your finances. Check out this article from Oprah.com to get started.
  • Check out this website to find helpful tips on how to use your new credit card responsibly so that you can build credit, but stay out of debt.
  • Learn more about the benefits of banking with a credit union by reading through this article from U.S. News & World Report.
  • If you need more help teaching your young family members about financial responsibility, use the resources from this webpage.
  • Before your children apply for their first credit cards, use these tips to teach them financial responsibility.

Bring your financial questions to GCS Federal Credit Union to get the answers and personalized service you need. We offer mortgage, money market, savings and checking, credit card, auto and personal loan services. To enlist our financial assistance, visit or call us at (618) 797-7993 today.


Educating Your Children on Financial Responsibility

Smiling boy receives pocket money from his dad

The sooner your children learn financial responsibility, the better prepared they’ll be to handle the financial complexities of adulthood. They’ll also be better prepared to manage a credit card, build up savings, and pay off their debt. Look below to find tips on teaching your children financial responsibility.

  • Teach Them to Save

One easy way to teach your children financial responsibility is to give them an allowance. Kids are always asking their parents to buy them toys and candy because they don’t understand where money comes from and what it takes to earn money. Therefore, give your children set allowances so they can buy their goodies with their own money. This way, they’ll learn that if they spend their money, they’ll have to wait several weeks to earn it back, enticing them to save as much as possible.  

  • Teach Them The Value of a Dollar

When children have to work for their money, they learn to appreciate how hard you work for the family’s sake. Consider giving your children an allowance based on the chores they do around the house. To be fair to each child, set up a scale for how much money they can receive for each chore. Then, consider adding bonus chores that are worth more. Instilling a strong work ethic in your children at an early age will also teach them to be responsible workers when they enter the workforce. 

  • Open a Savings Account

It is never too early for your children to open a savings account, so head to your local credit union today. Each time your child receives an allowance or a check from their grandparents, force them to put away 10 percent. Have them deposit the money themselves so they become familiar with the act of saving. Each month, let them see their statement so they can watch their savings grow and feel a sense of accomplishment. They’ll learn to see the value in saving and being responsible with their money.

When you’re ready to open your child’s first saving account, visit GCS Federal Credit Union. We regularly help young savers make smart decisions with their finances. To learn more about our smart spending clubs for kids, call us at (618) 797-7993.

Are Your Bills Piling Up? Get out of Debt with these Helpful Tips!

Worried couple doing their accounts in the living room

If you, like the many Americans, are struggling with your finances, taking the right measures can help you get back in control. Read the following tips and consult a financial expert to learn strategies to help you get on top of your bills and get out of debt.

  • Consider Debt Consolidation

If you have multiple sources of debt that are weighing you down, consider a debt consolidation program. These programs are designed to help people get out of debt safely by combining multiple sources of debt, from car payments to mortgages, into one payment with a low interest rate. This financial avenue can make paying off debt more manageable and getting out of debt a reality. To find out if you’re qualified for a debt consolidation program, talk to your banking consultant or financial advisor.

  • Create a Budget

Many people spend beyond their means without realizing it. If you’re unaware of how much you’re spending each month compared to how much you earn, it might be time to create a budget, especially if you constantly run out of money, are unable to save money, or get deeper into debt. To start, collect your monthly statements to determine where exactly your money is spent. Add up the expenses you must make each month, such as necessary bills. Next, add up the luxury expenses, such as fast food, entertainment, travel, and beauty expenses. Create your budget around expenditures you have to spend and allocate other funds to saving money and paying off debt.

  • Pay off High-Interest Debts First

Most people work to pay off smaller loans, even if they’re at lower interest rates. This strategy will lead to spending more in the long term, prolong the amount of time you’re in debt, and can prevent you from repairing your credit rating. Therefore, it’s usually more efficient to pay off high-interest loans, regardless of how large the balance may be.

If you need more help controlling your finances, talk to a Member Service Representative at GCS Federal Credit Union. We are a full-service financial institution ready to get you on the right track. Give us at (618) 797-7993.

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