What is a credit union?
A credit union is a not-for-profit, cooperative financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members. Credit unions serve people that share something in common such as an employer or place of worship. Credit unions allow members to pool their savings, lend to one another, and have a voice in governance in organization. This aspect of credit unions is particularly appealing given increasing alienation many consumers are feeling from mega banks.
Credit unions are similar to banks in that they offer many of same services such as check and savings accounts as well as loans. Deposits are also federally insured with credit unions as they are with banks. Credit unions combine these services with many other benefits such as personal service, generally lower interest rates and higher investment returns.
Steps to take to find a credit union to join.
Contact your employer to see if your company provides this benefit. If not, ask them to consider making valuable benefit of credit union membership available. If a family or household member is eligible to join a credit union you may be eligible to join because of your relationship. Also, try contacting occupational, fraternal, religious and alumni organizations you are affiliated with to see if they have a credit union you can join. CreditUnionRate.com is also a good source to use when searching for a credit union.
What are benefits of a credit union?
Because credit unions are democratic, member-owned cooperatives, every member, regardless of account size, has a voice in governance. Each year, your local credit union holds an annual election and meeting where members select candidates for Board of Directors from among its members to represent them in setting policies of credit union. As a member-owner of your credit union, you are entitled to vote on credit union business and elect new board members. You can also serve on your credit unionís volunteer board or one of its committees. Credit union elections are based on a one-member, one-vote structure. This structure is unlike for-profit, public companies where stockholders vote according to number of shares of stock they own.