About Credit Unions

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The credit union movement began with a simple idea – that people could achieve a better standard of living for themselves and others by pooling their savings and making loans to neighbors and co-workers. The credit union philosophy is “Not for Profit, Not for Charity, But for Service.”

What is a credit union?

Credit unions offer all the same products as banks, but we do not have any outside shareholders. Instead, our members are our shareholders. That means our profits are reinvested in you, allowing you to enjoy better rates and service. Credit unions offer special advantages:

Member ownership – Each member is a part owner of the credit union to which they belong and is entitled to one vote, regardless of how much money has been deposited.
Members come first – Because members are our shareholders, our profits come back to members in the form of better rates on all accounts. Members also enjoy lower fees than they would at for-profit institutions.
Special services – We serve our members and offer special services that for-profit institutions, such as banks, may not always be able to match. Examples include small denomination signature loans to help members through financial difficulties, second-chance or credit rebuilding loans, savings clubs for kids and seniors, and financial counseling.
Volunteer leadership – Credit unions are led by a board of directors elected from our membership. Board members volunteer their time and service and are not compensated, which means decisions are made based on the best interest of the members. Any member can be nominated to serve on the board of their credit union.

Credit unions are safe and sound places to bank. Every credit union is regulated and examined consistently by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) - the U.S. government agency - or a state credit union government agency, ensuring the safety and soundness of its operations. And, just like the FDIC, the NCUA insures credit union deposits up to at least $250,000.

We are thriving today, with more than 124 million members across the country. For more information about credit unions, and to find the one that’s right for you, visit America's Credit Unions.

Who can join a credit union?

It’s easy to join the 124 million Americans already enjoying the benefits of membership. Credit unions are open to a wide range of people. Whether membership is community based, affiliated with an employee group, church or school, more people than you think can join and enjoy the benefits of a credit union. Plus, many credit unions are open to immediate family of qualifying members. Find the right credit union for you.

How are credit unions different?

While we offer all the same products as banks, there is one major difference between credit unions and other financial institutions – our members are our owners. This means profits are reinvested in the member in the form of better rates on all accounts.

What services do credit unions offer?

Credit unions offer a wide array of services, each designed to meet the needs of our members. Each credit union is a little different, based on the specific needs of its members. Some may offer deposits and loans, while others offer all the same services as other financial institutions.


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