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Using Credit Unions

Category Banking
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Credit unions are member owned and governed by elected board members. Often membership is limited by employers. This is a guide about using credit unions.
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By 2 found this helpful
June 26, 2008

I never set foot in a bank. I only do my "banking" at credit unions where I am never charged a fee for any services. Interest and other rates are comparable or better than banks, and service is way better, as credit unions are member owned and they are federally insured. When I have a credit card dispute or very occasional error on something, it never takes more than 1 phone call to straighten things out. You do have to belong to a group of some sort to belong to a credit union, but often that group is a broad as living in a certain county, or having a religious or employment affiliation.

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By Linda from Vista, CA

Comment Was this helpful? 2

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh0 found this helpful
October 6, 2006

There are banks, and then there are credit unions. What are these credit unions, and how can they benefit bankers? It's worth the time to take a look at what they have to offer and invest a little money into a credit union as well.

What Is It?

A credit union is a bank. According to the Lehigh Valley Educator's Credit Union, it is a "cooperative, not-for-profit financial institution organized to promote thrift and provide credit to members." Credit unions are member owned and governed by elected board members. Often membership is limited by employers. For instance, teachers credit unions focus on educators and their families while other credit unions focus on factories and city employees.
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What Can It Offer?

Credit unions offer all the services of regular banks plus a few extra perks such as:

How Can They Do This?

Since credit unions are owned by the members, they do not operate at a profit. Instead, they work to create the most profitable options for the members rather than the shareholders who own typical banks.

What Are the Problems?

As with any institution there can be problems. Since credit unions are small, non-profit organizations they offer less convenience. Often time their hours are limited to weekdays only, and they usually offer only a handful of locations. ATMs may incur service fees since home banking isn't always available.

Another minor inconvenience of the credit union is the request to withdraw money. Large withdraws often take longer to process, and the limit of cash withdraws at the window are often lower than those of typical banks.

Can I Become a Member?

While the credit union of your choice may focus on educators in the area, it is not impossible to hold an account if you're not an educator. The primary pursuit for account holders may be in that stated profession, but family members are welcome to join as well. Most credit unions allow uncles, in-laws, grandchildren, and parents of the member to join as well. Regardless of any future professional changes, once a member always a member.
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How Do I Benefit the Most?

While credit unions are valuable, many people opt to have accounts in both a credit union and a larger commercial bank. With the conveniences of the commercial bank and the savings of the credit union, the account holder can maximize his benefits with a happy balance between the two.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

March 15, 20050 found this helpful

Don't bank at banks. Bank at credit unions whenever possible. When you join a credit union you are a member and the free services abound.

By Linda

Do you use a credit union? Feel free to post your feedback about the advantages of credit unions.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

February 27, 20060 found this helpful

As many of 5% of credit unions in the US are not insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Make sure your credit union is one of the 95% that are insured. Then you will have the same degree of protection as federally insured banks.

By ThriftyFun

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