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  • Listerhill Credit Union Membership

    • Listerhill Credit Union is headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and has served members since 1952.
    • 7th largest credit union in Alabama, managing $1.38 Billion in assets and serving over 94,000 members.

    Membership: If you live in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, or Tennessee.

  • Employee Resources Credit Union Membership

    • Employee Resources Credit Union is headquartered in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee and has been serving members since 1964.
    • Manages $143.59 Million in assets and serves over 22,000 members.

    Membership: If you live, work, worship, or attend school in Lawrence, Giles, Wayne, or Henderson County, TN.

  • ORNL Federal Credit Union Membership

    • ORNL Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and has been serving members since 1948.
    • 4th largest credit union in the state of Tennessee, managing $3.55 Billion in assets and serving over 199,000 members.

    Membership: Live, work, worship, or attend school in one of the East Tennessee counties.

  • Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union Membership

    • Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee and has been serving members since 1934.
    • 3rd largest credit union in the state of Tennessee, managing $4.15 Billion in assets and serving over 273,000 members.

    Membership: Eligibility is open to people who live and work in the East Tennessee area.

  • Ascend Federal Credit Union Membership

    • Ascend Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Tullahoma, Tennessee and has been serving members since 1951.
    • 2nd largest credit union in Tennessee, managing $4.24 Billion in assets and serving over 241,000 members.

    Membership: Relationship with immediate family or household members, Employment/Affiliation, Underserved Areas, and The Nature Conservancy, Tennessee Chapter (TNC).

  • Eastman Credit Union Membership

    • Eastman Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative providing banking services including savings, loans, and other financial services.
    • The largest credit union in Tennessee with assets totaling $5.68 Billion and providing banking services to more than 251,000 members.

    Membership: Open to employees of companies that have partnered with ECU. Live, work, worship, attend school, operate a business in one of the communities listed in TN and VA. Membership is also open to the immediate family of current members.

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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