Credit Union Members

Dec 15th, 2014     Credit Unions

Credit Union members are none other than the customers of the credit unions. Customers are known as members once they signed up with the credit union. Members of the credit union are the owners who share a part of the business. All the members have to participate while being a part of a credit union.

Who can be a member of a credit union?

To be a member of a credit union the customer should be eligible for the same. In many cases this depends on the existing members of the credit union. Some credit unions require special features such as certain locations, interests, place of work, friends, family etc. New credit unions are usually set up by people who have a strong bonding among themselves. When they understand that their financial requirements and preferences can be met together as a group, then, they might as well start a credit union.

Member’s Management

As the member of the credit unions are the owners of the credit union they manage the credit unions, however, employees are hired to run day to day operations at the branches. If the members have different interests and opinions then decisions are taken via voting system. Every member is eligible for one vote only. Voting doesn’t depend on the amount deposited in the accounts. All share equal right to vote, without discrimination.

Usually the main decisions are taken by board of directors who are voted and set up by all the members. Usually credit unions are formed when people have a good bonding among them; hence consequences of clashes are few. However, there is a possibility for the same due to human tendency.

Voting System

How to become a member of a Credit Union

If you’re interested to be a part of a credit union, then check information online about the credit unions in your geographic location. If you find a credit union, wherein there is a requirement for members and wherein you meet the criteria for becoming a member. Then fill the form online or go to the respective credit union branch and follow the steps of becoming a member.If you’re interested to be a part of a credit union, then check information online about the credit unions in your geographic location. If you find a credit union, wherein there is a requirement for members and wherein you meet the criteria for becoming a member. Then fill the form online or go to the respective credit union branch and follow the steps of becoming a member.

If you’re aware of friends, colleagues or family who are already members of credit unions, take information from them and check if you’re eligible and open an account with credit union. It’s a must to meet the criteria to become a part of credit unions.

You can be a member of two or more credit unions provided your eligible to open the accounts while meeting the respective criteria set up by the members of the credit union. A proper research through the internet or from family and friends shall certainly help you find a reliable credit union, wherein you can enjoy the benefits of earning high interest on savings or else paying less interest on loans compared to that of banks.

Services and benefits enjoyed by members of credit unions

Members of credit unions are also the owners; hence they get special attention and superior service while enjoying profits of the credit union. As there are no shareholders involved in credit unions, the members share the profits among themselves. Credit union enjoy other benefits and services, such as

Free checking account or low fee checking account: Some credit unions provide its members with free checking account; such accounts don’t require any minimum balance to be maintained. It’s also likely that most of the credit unions offer checking accounts with low maintenance balance and low fees.

High interest rates on Savings, Money market accounts and CD’s: Credit unions usually offer high interest rates for deposits.

Low interest on Mortgage and Loans: Members of credit unions can take loans and mortgages while paying low interest for them.

Credit cards with low fees and interest rates: Members of credit unions can enjoy paying low interest on credit cards, also they generally have an annual fees which is comparatively low.

Insurance: Members of federal credit unions have insurance coverage up to $250,000 by the NCUA; therefore they are assured that their money is safe. Other credit unions have private insuranceInsurance: Members of federal credit unions have insurance coverage up to $250,000 by the NCUA; therefore they are assured that their money is safe. Other credit unions have private insurance.

Online banking: Members of credit unions can use almost all the features of online banking, right from international payments to checking balance online.Online banking; Members of credit unions can use almost all the features of online banking, right from international payments to checking balance online.

Direct Deposits, Standing Orders and Wire Transfers: Members of credit unions can set up and use all these features to make their payments on time.

Investments and Safe Keeping: Members of credit union can use investment services and safe keeping services too.Investments and Safe Keeping: Members of credit union can use investment services and safe keeping services too.

We can clearly see that credit union members enjoy a varied range of benefits and services while sharing the profits too.


, , , ,

How to open a credit union account?

Nov 20th, 2014     Credit Unions

Credit unions are financial institutions where customers (members) are the owners. Hence, to join a credit union, the customer should be eligible to be a member. Basically credit unions offer membership to customers who qualify to be members based on some common factors, criteria and bonds. The criteria may be same employer, similar business or even same region of residence. Therefore any customer who wishes to open an account in a credit union should follow the easy steps listed below.

Find a credit union that’s suitable for you

: If you’re planning to open a credit union account, then it’s a must to do a proper research about them. After going through different credit unions and their features you can open an account with a credit union that’s most suitable for you. Credit unions can be found online by searching through different search engines and also via National Union Administration’s Credit Union Search.

While searching for credit unions it’s always wise to check the insurance for deposits in case of credit union failure. Federal credit unions are insured by US government and the others are having private insurance. Whichever credit union you choose to take, ensure you’re aware about its insurance policy and coverage. If you are sure about the safety of your deposits, it’s sensible to open an account.

After a proper research, you should be able to see which credit union you’re eligible to join. Eligibility factors are mostly based on the industry you’re working in, organization you work for, your geographic location and membership’s you have with other credit unions. Once you search and find the credit union your eligible to join. Based on your preference you can then proceed to open an account with the credit union of your choice.

Search online and find credit unions

Submit the application and complete the joining formalities:

At this stage you can go to the credit union of your choice and fill in the application to open an account. While submitting the application you would have to provide

  • Your photo identification proof which could be your driving license, passport or any other identification proof.
  • Your address proof, which could be last 3 months’ bank statements, electricity bill etc.
  • Your passport sized photograph.
  • Cash or check for the amount to be deposited, most common amount requested by credit unions is $25. Minimum deposit has to be paid at most of the credit unions to become a member.

After submitting all of the above, credit unions would run a credit check to ensure you’re eligible for a checking account with debit card. Therefore, if you wish to apply for a checking account with credit unions, ensure you have a decent credit score. This information can be found via the US government free credit reports program. If credit unions are satisfied with your credit score and find no errors then they would open an account for you.

Therefore we see that by following the above mentioned procedure it would be possible for you to open an account with credit union. Some credit unions have their online application forms too. After you become a member of credit unions you can start using the various products and services they have.

Ask Family and Friends:
Apart from the above mentioned steps, there can be situations wherein you hear about credit unions from co-workers, friends and family who are existing members of a credit union. If these members offer you to join a credit union, you can ask them relevant questions based on the information provide above and proceed with opening an account only if you’re eligible and satisfied.


, ,

Credit Unions 101 – Facts, Safety, Structure

Nov 5th, 2014     Credit Unions

Credit unions are financial institutions, which are owned and managed by its customers (members) to provide financial services to its members. Credit unions provide products and services similar to banks; however banks and credit unions cannot be considered as same. Credit unions are usually formed by a group of members with strong connections among them. When the members have a common bond and probably belong to the same region with similar financial needs and ideas, they are more likely to form a credit union. As credit unions have branch operations and deals with finances, they are operated by staff similar to banks.

Products of Credit Unions

  • Bank account
  • Savings and deposit account
  • Joint accounts
  • Credit Cards
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s)
  • Trustee Revocable accounts
  • Trustee Irrevocable accounts
  • Money Market accounts
  • Money Market funds
  • Auto Loans, Personal loans and Student loans
  • Mortgage loans
  • Safe Deposits

We can see that credit unions are not just places where customers can deposit funds and take loans, but they also provide different products that are similar to that of banks. However, not every credit union might have all the products mentioned above. As most credit union choose their products based on the needs of its customers (members), backed up by its availability, the products vary between different credit unions.

Services of Credit Unions

Based on the products the credit unions provide services to its customers. Check books, direct debits, standing orders, internet banking, branch facilities, ATM access, debit card, electronic payments, credit union service centers are few of the services that credit unions provide.

Management of Credit Union

Credit unions are managed by its customers who are also its members. The higher management is operated by the board of directors in credit unions. The boards of directors are mostly appointed by elections, wherein the customers vote for member who are interested to manage and operate the credit union. Important decisions are taken by the higher management in credit unions.

Customers are owners of credit unions

Can Credit Unions Compete with Banks?

Yes, Credit Unions can compete with banks. Credit unions have products and services that are similar to banking. Hence it’s natural for customers to have a look at both the options before taking up accounts. If customers find credit union’s features and offerings interesting, then they can surely opt for credit unions instead of banking.

Some credit unions have attractive features, wherein customers do not require huge funds to open an account. They may just require to have a minimum balance such as $5 to $10 in some cases.

At the end September 2012 reports showed that nationwide credit unions and banks were almost equal in number. They were 7030 number of credit unions with an aggregate of $1 trillion in assets and 6170 number of banks with an aggregate of $13 trillion in assets.

Since 15 years banks and credit unions have experience similar trends. Banks have decreased by 30 % and credit unions decreased by 36%. While the total number of assets for banks increased by 140% and total assets for credit unions increased by 160%.

Are Credit Union Deposits Safe?

Yes credit unions are safe, most of the credit unions deposits are insured by NCUSIF (National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund). These credit unions are regulated by NCUA (federal organization) and thus this insurance is backed up by the government. Some credit unions deposits have private insurance instead of NCUA. Apart from the deposit insurance, there would be other safety measures taken by the members of the credit union to ensure smooth and secure operations.

Difference between Credit Unions and Banks

Although banks and credit unions look similar, following are some of the basic differences which set them apart –

  1. Credit unions are owned and managed by its customers, whereas banks are owned by shareholders which can be individuals, companies and government. Banks are managed by the bank management.
  2. In credit unions the customer and the owners are the same, whereas in banks customers are customers.
  3. Federally insured credit unions deposits are insured by NCUSIF and banks are insured by FDIC – both are government entities.
  4. Credit unions have credit union service centers which are part of a network, if a credit union is listed under this network then customers can use any branch of credit union service center, whereas banks don’t have such feature.
  5. Customers can participate and take business decisions in credit unions whereas in banks customers cannot do the same.
  6. Banks usually provide all financial products and services, whereas each credit union has different products and services. Some credit unions may not provide all the products.

Hence we see that, even though banks and credit unions appear to be the same they do have certain differences between them.

Credit Unions and banks are both suitable for customers depending on their needs and interests. Credit unions are not just service oriented; they do make profits provided they operate efficiently.


, , ,

This blog is maintained by banks-america.com editorial team.
'Banks America' provides educational articles on banking, financial products, and other banking related usable information to it's readers. This information should not be perceived as financial advice. Banks America also maintains the most updated banking directory of bank branches and credit union branches along with their routing numbers and swift codes.