Benefits of a Credit Union

If you are not familiar with Credit Unions and want to find out more, please read the information below.

What are the benefits of joining a credit union?

  • Lower APR on most loan types, including student loans, mortgages, auto loans and credit cards
  • Better rates of return on savings accounts and certificates of deposit
  • Low-fee or no-fee checking accounts and ATM access
  • Low or no minimum balances to maintain accounts
  • U.S. Government insured accounts up to $250,000
  • Dividends are paid to members, not shareholders

Do credit unions offer the same services as banks?

Many credit unions offer a wide range of services, similar to banks. Other credit unions have more limited services. All credit unions specialize first and foremost in services for consumers, such as checking and savings accounts and personal and consumer loans. Many credit unions also have expanded to include credit and debit cards, IRA’s, mortgages, home equity loans, and other products and services.

Are deposits with credit unions insured?

The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which is backed by the US government, insures federally chartered and many state chartered credit unions. The fund, similar to the FDIC for bank deposits, insures individual accounts up to $250,000.

How can credit unions offer low loan rates and higher deposit rates?

A credit union’s first priority is to serve the needs of its members rather than to make a profit for stockholders. This fundamental difference ensures that credit union profits are reinvested back to the people they belong to, by way of dividends, lower rates and lower service fees. As member owned and governed institutions, this mission is always a top priority for credit union management.

How many credit union members are there in the United States?

More than 90 million Americans belong to a credit union, and it’s estimated that another 40 million qualify for credit union membership according to “field-of-membership” (FOM) rules. There are more than 8,000 credit unions across the country.

What is “Field-of-Membership” (FOM)?

A credit union is permitted to accept as members only those people who are within the “Field-of-Membership” (FOM) according to their credit union charter.  The FOM usually entails individuals and their family members who live, work (or regularly conduct business), worship, or attend school, and businesses and other legal entities within a state, city, county or zip code.

How do I find a credit union that I qualify to join?

If you’re having trouble locating a credit union whose FOM criteria you qualify for, you can visit this site to quickly see which credit unions in your area you may be eligible to join.

How are credit unions run?

Each credit union is democratically controlled and run by a volunteer board of directors who are elected by the members of the credit union. The directors are also members and any member can run for election to the board. All credit union members have a say in how the credit union is operated. The day-to-day managers of credit unions, and the staff who serve members needs, are paid, expert professionals in the financial services field.

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