DEARBORN, Mich. — Marking what is being described as a "history-making" patronage payout of $17 million, the $1.8 billion DFCU Financial CU went out of its way Thursday to remind the public of its role in trying to help the state's deeply troubled economy.

In distributing the annual dividend to its 125,000 members, the state's largest CU said the funds would assist those struggling to make mortgage payments and represents a bit of "welcome relief" from economic hardship.

DFCU joined by the Michigan Credit Union League also couched its payout announcement with a swipe at the banking industry noting that credit unions are able to give back to members while banks enjoying big profits do not.

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