Credit Unions Are Still Misunderstood
Credit union had a good year in 2014, with strong growth in both new members and lending activity. More than 100 million Americans now do their banking at CUs. However, studies show that many people are still confused about what a credit union is, and how they are both similar to – and different from – traditional banks. Here are a few key features of CUs:
Almost Anyone Can Join a Credit Union
Many people hear “credit union” and automatically think that they must belong to a specific company, union, group or organization to join one. While many CUs were originally established to provide services to a specific group, (such as the employees of a particular company), most CUs have expanded their eligibility to include nearly everyone in the community.
To put it more simply: if you are reading this you are most likely eligible to join a credit union in your community.
Yes, there’s a credit union in your area that wants you to join as a Member.
Banking at a Credit Union is Convenient, and Familiar
You’ll enjoy the same banking services you’re used to when you join a credit union. CUs offer checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, personal loans, auto loans and more. And because CUs cooperate on shared branches and ATMs, you will find convenient access to your accounts at locations all across the country. According to CUNA, CUs have more than 30,000 ATMs in place nationally, for instance.
What’s different about a CU vs. a bank? Credit unions are not-for-profit collectives. When you join a CU, you become a part owner of that CU. Partly because of these qualities, CUs typically offer lower fees, and lower rates on loans, than banks do.
Credit Union Accounts Are Insured
When you join a CU, your money will be federally insured – just like it is in a bank. The difference is only in who provides the insurance. Bank and S&L accounts are insured by the FDIC, while federal credit union accounts are insured by a program administered by the National Credit Union Association. State-chartered CUs may be insured by that program, or by one set up in that state.
Either way, your deposited funds are safe and secure.
Credit unions really are for everyone. They are part of the community, and owned by their members. Hopefully, the points covered here will help clear up some of the lingering confusion people still have about CUs.
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