Credit unions are great. And I suggest that everyone have a credit union as part of their financial portfolio.
Well, credit unions offer the traditional banking products you’d expect from big banks but come with the perk of membership with a financial cooperative.
With credit unions, you’re not a customer, you’re a member-owner.
Credit unions share a common goal of serving its members, not shareholders. However, each credit union has its very own set of values and unique culture including its own way of doing things.
How to Become a Member of a Credit Union
Credit unions come in different sizes and charters with each having its own unique culture and operation.
For example, a credit union that specifically works with technology employees may offer better mobile apps and tech services. Likewise, a credit union for real estate agents may better understand the inconsistency of income as a realty professional.
State-chartered credit unions
A state’s financial services regulatory agency supervises and regulates state-chartered credit unions.
A state-chartered credit union may have private deposit insurance and/or share insurance through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.
Federal credit unions
Federally chartered credit unions are administered and regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
All federally chartered credit unions are insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF).
4 Types of Credit Union Common Bond
In order to join a credit union, you’ll need to have a common bond with one.
- Employer credit unions – serves companies and organized unions that represent labor, teachers, police officers, and government workers.
- Group credit unions – serve affiliations or associations. These group focused credit unions include military, church groups, alumni associations, or service organizations.
- Local credit unions – serve local communities or predefined geographic areas. They serve individuals within a specified and defined community boundary.
- Federal credit unions – serve a larger group of individuals and joining doesn’t have as many limitations as the others above. Most credit unions in this category can serve a national audience.
As you can see, you’re likely eligible for membership with multiple credit unions.
How to join a credit union
There are thousands of credit unions all across the United States. This means you have plenty of choices.
Each credit union has membership eligibility requirements. You’re eligible to join a credit union based on employment, affiliation, or location, or relation to a member. Inquire with a credit union about membership eligibility.
How to find the right credit union
Find a local credit union that offers what you need and shares a common bond with you.
- Ask your family and friends, speak with your boss or HR representative at work, and ask within your church.
- Search online using the National Credit Union Administration locator on MyCreditUnion.gov or through the website, aSmarterChoice.org.
How to choose a credit union
Before joining, you may want to ask the following questions:
- does the mission align with my values?
- are the products and services going to meet my banking and credit needs?
- are my accounts easily accessible through branches, online, ATMs or apps?
- can I speak with a live person or get online support?
- what are the fees associated with having an account?
- how can I access your money?
- what additional services and benefits are offered?
Are you ready to join a credit union? Any credit unions you love and recommend?