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  • Altura Credit Union Membership

    • Altura Credit Union headquarters is in Riverside, California and has served members since 1957.
    • Manages $2.58 billion in assets and serves over 187,000 members.

    Membership: If you live, work, worship, or attend school in select California counties.

  • Credit Union of Southern California Membership

    Credit Union of Southern California is headquartered in Anaheim, California and has served members since 1954.

    Manages $2.09 billion in assets and serves over 154,000 members.

    Membership: Anyone who lives, works, attends school or religious services in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, or Riverside County.

  • Santa Cruz Community Credit Union Membership

    • Santa Cruz Community Credit Union is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California and has been serving members since 1977.
    • Manages $195.9 Million in assets and serves over 15,000 members.

    Membership: Serving Santa Cruz County and North Monterey County in California.

  • SCE Federal Credit Union Membership

    • SCE Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Irwindale, California and has served members since 1952.
    • Manages $1.05 Billion in assets and serves over 67,000 members.

    Membership: You live, work, worship, or attend school in a specific California or Nevada community served by the credit union.

  • SESLOC Federal Credit Union Membership

    • SESLOC Federal Credit Union is headquartered in San Luis Obispo, California and has been serving members since 1942.
    • Manages $1.2 Billion in assets and serves over 58,000 members.

    Membership: Live, work, or attend school in San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara County in California.

  • Siskiyou Central Credit Union Membership

    • Siskiyou Credit Union is headquartered in Yreka, California and has been serving members since 1962.
    • Manages $140.08 Million in assets and serves over 10,000 members.

    Membership: Anyone who lives, works, or worships in Siskiyou County.

  • SMW 104 Federal Credit Union Membership

    • SMW 104 Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Livermore, California and has served members since 1962.
    • Manages $106.91 Million in assets and serves over 9,000 members.

    Membership: Serving specific SMART and SMW Local Unions.

  • Sun Community Federal Credit Union Membership

    • Sun Community Federal Credit Union is headquartered in El Centro, California and has served members since 1954.
    • Manages $722.69 Million in assets and serves over 51,000 members.

    Membership: Live, work, worship, or volunteer in the geographic area served by the credit union in California.

  • Tucoemas Federal Credit Union Membership

    • Tucoemas Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Visalia, California and has served members since 1948.
    • Manages $323.07 Million in assets and serves over 29,000 members.

    Membership: People who live, work, worship, or attend school in Tulare County, California

  • USC Credit Union Membership

    • USC Credit Union is headquartered in Los Angeles, California and has served members since 1973.
    • Manages $720.74 Million in assets and serves over 79,000 members.

    Membership: Current USC employees, faculty, staff, or enrolled students.

  • Vocality Community Credit Union Membership

    • Vocality Community Credit Union is headquartered in Garberville, California and has been serving members since 1980.
    • Manages $158.39 Million in assets and serves over 9,000 members.

    Membership: You must live, work or worship within a geographic area as explained in the credit union’s Field of Membership.

  • Valley First Credit Union Membership

    • Valley First Credit Union is headquartered in Modesto, California and has been serving members since 1956
    • Manages $1.02 Billion in assets and serves over 78,000 members.

    Membership: Live, work, worship, or attend school in specific counties in California.

  • Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union Membership

    • Santa Clara County Federal Credit Union is headquartered in San Jose, California and has been serving members since 1950
    • Manages $982.08 Million in assets and serves over 47,000 members.

    Membership: If you are an active or retired employee of one of the credit union’s corporate partners.

  • Rolling F Credit Union Membership

    • Rolling F Credit Union is headquartered in Turlock, California and has served members since 1948.
    • Manages $64.93 Million in assets and serves over 5,000 members.

    Membership: If you live, work, or worship in Stanislaus or Merced County.

  • Partners Federal Credit Union Membership

    • Partners Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Burbank, California and has served members since 1968.
    • Manages $2.47 Billion in assets and serves over 178,000 members.

    Membership: An employee of The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) or one of its subsidiaries

  • Orange County’s Credit Union Membership

    • Orange County’s Credit Union is headquartered in Santa Ana, California and has served members since 1938.
    • Manages $2.54 Billion in assets, serves over 131,000 members, and employs 310 people as of February 2024.

    Membership: For anyone who lives or works in Orange, LA, Riverside, or San Bernardino Counties.

What is a Credit Union?

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives offering many banking products and services. These include:

  • Checking
  • Savings
  • Money Market
  • Certificates
  • Car Loans
  • Personal Loans
  • Credit Cards
  • Mortgages
  • Debit cards
  • Direct deposit and other electronic transfers
  • Online banking and bill pay
  • Mobile banking and deposit via an app
  • Investment services, insurance, and more.

As financial cooperatives, credit unions exist for the mutual benefit of their members. In fact, you’re a member, not a customer, when you bank with a credit union.

Read more: Learn All About Credit Unions

Why Join a Credit Union

Credit unions offer competitive interest rates.

Credit unions are highly competitive when it comes to savings rates and interest rates on loans and credit cards. This is due to the lower cost of operations and the tax exemptions that allow them to invest profits back into the membership.

Credit unions are democratically governed.

This means you get a voice, and elections are based on a one-member, one-vote philosophy. As a credit union member, your participation is vital. Make your voice heard at your credit union by communicating and attending the annual member events.

Credit unions are regulated and insured.

Credit unions are highly regulated financial entities, and federally chartered credit unions are supervised by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an independent federal agency that regulates, charters, and supervises federal credit unions. State-chartered credit unions are regulated by the state for which they operate.

Differences between credit unions and banks

Because of their not-for-profit structure, making profits for shareholders isn’t a goal. Profits are reinvested into the membership to grow financial offerings and support members.

Like other not-for-profit organizations, some credit unions enjoy federal tax exemptions, allowing them to offer better rates on savings accounts, lower rates on loans, and little or no fees. It’s also important to understand that credit unions pay other types of taxes, such as state, sales, and payroll taxes. They contribute taxes back into the community for which they serve.

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 because of where you live, work, worship, attend school, or are related to an existing member.

Here are the steps to join a credit union.

Step 1: Find a Credit Union

You can search the marketplace to find a credit union in your state. There is a good chance you’ll meet the eligibility requirements for membership.

Step 2: Verify Your Membership Eligibility

Review the requirements listed in the description of each credit union. You’ll notice they’ll have eligibility listed, such as:

  • having family belonging to a local credit union
  • living in a particular area
  • working for a company
  • belonging to a group
  • a member of a church
  • student or alumni of a school
  • or even by joining an association when you apply

Step 3: Open Your Membership Account

Credit unions allow you to apply for membership online or by visiting the local branch. To verify your identity, bring your valid ID and proof of address.

Most credit unions require a membership share account that establishes your relationship.

You must have this share account to become a “member-owner” of the credit union. Additionally, this share deposit is “locked in” and cannot be used for the entirety of your membership.

Each credit union has a specific membership share deposit requirement. It’s often between $5-$50.

*Note: Once you close your credit union membership, you get back the share deposit.

Step 4: Make Use of Your Credit Union Membership

After becoming a member-owner, you’re eligible to open accounts at the credit union. It’s good to know that credit unions often use different names for the same products you’ll find at banks. For instance, they might refer to checking accounts as “share draft accounts.”

Most importantly, “Once a member, always a member.”

Once you’ve joined a credit union, you’re a member for life. You can keep your credit union even if you move out of your city, leave a job, or change churches or associations.

With convenient online services and mobile apps, it is easy to keep your membership going. And once you’re a member, you can invite your immediate family to join, too.

Remember, you’re a member-owner, so do more with your credit union.

Your participation is vital to the credit union’s success. That means using more of your credit union’s banking services, loans, and other services. The revenues made from these services help the cooperative cover its expenses, grow its offerings, and remain financially stable.

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