What is a credit union?
A credit union is a not-for-profit, financial co-operative comprised of the people who use its services, who we refer to as members. Credit Unions provide the same services you would find at a bank but with lower fees, better rates, and more savings.
What’s the difference between a credit union and a bank?
There is no difference in a credit union and a bank in terms of the accounts, loans, and services you use to manage your finances.
The difference is in the day-to-day operation of the two organizations.
||Banks are owned by shareholders
|Philosophy – People helping people
||Philosophy – making a profit for shareholders
Not for profit
A credit union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative—which means that credit unions aren’t in the business of making money at your expense. Instead, credit unions return profits to members, once expenses are met, in the form of lower rates and fees. That is why most credit union web pages are .org sites.
If you’ve been banking with a credit union you’ve probably heard the term ‘member-owner’ thrown around. So what does it mean, anyway? It means that each member of the credit union is a part owner of the cooperative. Regardless of how much money a member has on deposit, each member has an equal vote and equal ownership.
People helping people
This is the Credit Union philosophy. That’s why profits are returned to you by making it less expensive for you with fewer fees. Credit unions are dedicated to working for their members and the communities they serve. That’s why credit unions give back to the community in a form of volunteering and service projects.
Can anyone join a credit union?
There is a credit union out there for you. There are credit unions that are only open to employees of a certain corporation (for example, Motorola has a credit union that is only available to its employees and their families). However, virtually every community has a credit union that anyone can join.
Who owns a credit union?
Unlike banks, credit unions are not-for-profit and are owned their members. Each member owns a share in the credit union and even has a vote as to who will serve on the board of directors.
Are credit unions FDIC insured?
No, however, they are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The NCUA is an agency of the federal government and protects accounts up to $250,000 – which is the same protection you get from the FDIC at a bank.
Where can I join?
Check out our Houston-Galveston directory here or if you’re outside of the area check out the national credit union directory here.