In honor of Friday 13th, I thought I would share some credit union knowledge with all of you. Here are 13 facts about credit unions that you may not have known!
13 Fun Facts About Credit Unions
- In 1934, President Roosevelt signed into law the Federal Credit Union Act. This established credit unions as an alternative to banks to promote thrift and prevent usury during the Great Depression. Many credit unions have decades of history with members spanning generations.
- Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. Like other not-for-profit organizations, credit unions enjoy federal tax exemptions allowing them to offer better rates on savings accounts, lower rates on loans and little or no fees. Credit unions enjoy this benefit because they are mutually operated without profit. Credit unions do pay other types of taxes such as state, sales and payroll taxes.
- Credit unions are member owned. Don’t let “membership” scare you. It simply means you have a say in some of the activities of your local credit union, should you want it. It also means you are treated with the same respect as everyone else.
- NCUA versus FDIC: The vast majority of credit unions are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which provides essentially the same insurance coverage on deposits as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which insures bank deposits.
- Eligibility: Membership is limited, but joining a credit union is probably easier than you think. All credit unions have a field of membership (FOM) in their charters that defines who is eligible to join. This can be based on the community where you live, where you work or what associations you belong to. FOMs have expanded in recent years making it easy to join many credit unions based on where you live or the associations you belong to.
- Credit unions are convenient. The myth is that credit unions are junior varsity (JV) and can’t directly compete with the convenience offered by banks. Many credit unions have partnered together to form a network called, the CU Service Center (aka shared branching, sister branches, partner branches) giving you access to over 5,000 credit unions worldwide. Many credit unions also offer 24 hour access through online banking, mobile banking with deposit features, 24 hour call centers and text and email alerts.
- Once a member, always a member. Once you are a member of a credit union, you can remain a member regardless of what happens to your original qualifications. If you move to a new city or if you change employers, you can remain a member of that same credit union.
- ATM Access: Free ATM access can be as widespread as a big bank. Many credit unions belong to nationwide ATM networks. This gives you surcharge-free access to thousands of ATMs around the country.
- Share Account: At most credit unions, you simply need to deposit $5 or so in your accounts. But, if you close the account, you get it all back.
- There are about 7,000 credit unions in the United States. The vast majority of people can join a credit union and find one that meets their financial needs.
- Credit unions provide financial education. CU’s are passionate about providing financial education to help you and your family manage their money.
- You can join a credit union today! At Community 1st Credit Union we believe in empowering our employees to help our members achieve financial success! We are people helping people- rooted in our communities. Are you a credit union member? If not, apply today!
- Credit Unions are awesome! Need I say more?