What’s a Credit Union?
A credit union is a state or federally chartered, not-for-profit financial institution organized to promote thrift and provide credit to members. It is member-owned and controlled through a board of directors elected by the membership. The board serves on a volunteer basis and may hire a management team to run the credit union. The board also establishes and revises operating policy, sets dividend and loan rates, directs certain operations, and responsibly administers to the needs and demands of the membership. A supervisory committee, which is the representative auditor for the membership, is responsible for overseeing conformance to policies, rules and regulations, and the performance of officials and employees, and is responsible only to the membership. The result: members are provided with a safe, convenient place to save and borrow at reasonable rates at an institution which exists to benefit them, not to make a profit.
Who is eligible for membership?
Membership in a credit union is limited to those people who share a common bond of occupation, association or residence. In you credit union, membership is open to all persons within our field of membership, our "common bond", without regard to sex, race, color, creed, or national origin, and all policies of the credit union apply on an equal opportunity basis.
Are members of my family eligible to become members of the credit union?
Absolutely! Family members are eligible to become members of the credit union and use all the services we provide.
Can my membership expire?
Once you become a member, you may remain a member for life, and we encourage you to do so, because the credit union's most valuable asset is YOU!.
Who owns a credit union?
Most financial institutions are owned by stockholders, who own a part of the institution and intend on making money from their investment. A credit union doesn't operate in that manner. Rather, each credit union member owns one "share" of the organization. The user of credit union services is also an owner, and is even entitled to vote on important issues, such as the election of member representatives to serve on the board of directors.
What is the purpose of a credit union?
The primary purpose in furthering their goal of service is to encourage members to save money. Another purpose is to offer loans to members. In fact, credit unions have traditionally made loans to people of ordinary means. Credit unions can charge lower rates for loans (as well as pay higher dividends on savings) because they are nonprofit cooperatives. Rather than paying profits to stockholders, credit unions return earnings to members in the form of dividends or improved services.
How did credit unions start?
The first credit union cooperatives started in Germany over a century ago. Today, credit unions are found everywhere in the world. The credit union movement started in this country in Manchester, New Hampshire. There, the St. Mary's Cooperative Credit Association, a church-affiliated credit union, opened its doors in 1909. Today, one in every three Americans is a credit union member.
Are savings deposits insured?
Yes. All savings accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA, the National Credit Union Administration, an agency of the federal government.