Credit unions work with members who share a common bond. According to the Federal Credit Union Act, "anyone can apply to join a credit union if he or she shares a common bond of employer, educational institution, branch of the military or government, church or community." Because of the growth and development of credit unions, now almost everyone is eligible for membership through some type of association.
To become a member of a credit union, you will be required to fill out an application. You will have to prove your eligibility. You may be asked to provide the name of the employer, organization, or relative of which you are connected. You will then fill out a personal information questionnaire about where you live, employed and how much money you earn. Once approved, you will then be able to choose the appropriate financial services.
Benefits of a Credit Union
- Because they operate on a non- profit basis, credit unions can offer higher rates of interest on deposits and lower rates of interest on loans.
- Because of the development of online banking, access to a credit union is now easy and much more convenient.
- To resolve the lack of availability of ATMs, credit unions have now joined ATM networks so that members can use there credit union cards at various bank machines.
- Credit unions are convenient because business gets done much faster.
- When one has an account at a credit union, they are a partial owner of the institution. This means that there is the prospect of earning dividends so the credit union is making financial decisions with the best interest of its members in mind instead of bank executives.
- Because credit unions are non profit, they can offer lower rates for loans as well as lower fees. Instead of paying stockholders, credit unions return earnings to their members as dividends or better services. If the credit union makes more money than necessary, the account holders will receive the surplus amount in the form of dividends.
- A credit union issued credit card hardly ever has annual fees and the interest rates charged are much lower than banks. Part of the lower rates is due to lower overhead. As well, if one makes a late payment on their credit union card, there will most likely not be an instant interest rate increase.
- Credit unions have a history of giving back to the communities they serve through their many charitable acts.
With low loan interest rates, better account interest rates, a community spirit, and a variety of products and services, becoming a member of a credit union is definitely an option worth exploring.
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Article Added on Thursday, August 20, 2009
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