What is a Credit Union?
A credit union is a nonprofit, cooperative financial institution owned and run democratically by a group of people, known as its members. Members pool their savings within a safe service-oriented environment and make loans to each other at reasonable rates of interest.
Credit union uses members’ deposits to fund loans to other members. Those members who borrow from the credit union pay interest on the loan. The credit union pays interest to those members who deposit funds into the credit union as an incentive for members to save even more
Are credit unions different from for-profit financial institutions?
Regardless of their size or field of membership, credit unions are different than for-profit financial institutions. Credit unions exist to serve their members. For-profit financial institutions exist to make money for their stockholders.
Credit unions are member-owned, cooperative financial institutions that provide similar financial services such as savings and checking accounts, youth and senior accounts, loans for a variety of purposes, insurance, convenient services to access and send funds and more. In essence they are mutual organizations operated entirely by and for their members.
While for-profit institutions must make profits for their shareholders, in a credit union any earnings in excess of operational costs are returned to the members in the form of increased interest on savings, decreased rates on loans or other new and improved services.
Unlike for-profit financial institutions, credit unions return any profits to members, in the form of higher dividends on savings, lower fees, lower rates on loans, and expanded services.
What makes a Credit Union Different?
Credit Unions are member based, formed by a group of people who share a common bond – whether it be an employer, a fraternal organization, church or community. Because Credit Unions are non-profit organizations, they usually present a low cost alternative to for-profit financial institutions such as retail banks. Privacy and confidentiality of members’ affairs are assured.
Like all co-operatives, credit unions are based on the concept of “people helping people.” The Credit Union motto is “Not for Profit, Not for Charity, But for Service”.
Does a Credit Union Member have a ‘say’ on Credit Union Operations?
As a credit union member, you have a say in how your credit union is run. You have a vote, and you can participate in annual meetings, help elect the Board of Directors, and serve as a volunteer.
Each member (except a member who is a minor) has one vote, regardless of the amount of business they have at the credit union. As a member you are treated with dignity and respect. After all, you own part of the credit union!
Is my money safe in a credit union?
Like other financial institutions, credit unions are closely regulated. Your savings carry a free insurance coverage up to $60,000.
How does a Credit Union operate?
Investments and Interest on Loans are the credit union’s main sources of income. Expenses that offset the income include:
- Interest paid to members due to savings
- Operating expenses of the credit union
- Reserves and Special Reserves for financial stability.
What benefits do I get from being a credit union member?
Once the expenses of a credit union are met, any additional income is returned to members in the form of extra benefits such as:
- Competitive interest rates on deposits
- Competitive interest rates on loans
- Minimal fees and charges
- Quality member service
You also obtain the following benefits:
Savings, Loans, Death benefits and Insurance, Education and Personal Development, Travel Opportunities… and much more!!!
What is a Joint Account?
A joint account is an account held in the name of two (2) persons-the first person named is the member and any other person nominated by the member, who must also be a member of the Credit Union.
What is the purpose of having a joint partner (s) versus a beneficiary?
Your joint partner can conduct transactions on your behalf while you are alive but upon your passing, your beneficiary supersedes your joint partner. Payment to a beneficiary, however, is limited by law to a maximum of $50,000. Amounts in excess of$50,000 due to the estate can only be obtained via probate of a will or letter of administration. This process will incur legal costs.
Are my joint partners liable for existing loan balances at death?
No. The principal member is the only one liable for all loans.
How many joint partners can I have?
Maximum joint partners allowed – One (1).
Will my joint partner (s) have access to my funds and any other information on my account?
Your joint partner is authorized to withdraw unencumbered shares from the account and has access your information.
How do I establish a Joint Account?
Complete, sign and return the necessary forms which are available at the Credit Union and online along with a form of identification for the Joint Partner.