A credit union is a group of financial institutions owned by its members that operate on a non-profit basis and governed by its own members. They are generally classified as community organizations and have their own building, board, management and governing policies. These financial cooperatives are managed by a volunteer Board of directors elected each year from the membership. The entire operation is controlled from the top down. Credit unions offer a wide range of services such as savings, loans, investment, and consumer protection to name a few.
There are many advantages to working with credit unions. For one, the membership is very broad and makes it easier to coordinate with others in your local area. This type of organization can also provide lower interest rates and better loan terms than most banks offer. Many credit unions offer lower interest rates than most banks because they do not require you to carry any cash or assets. You are an equal part owner of the institution and enjoy the same benefits as the other owners. As a result, credit unions generally offer better interest rates and better loan terms than most banks.
A credit union is also a safer institution than many traditional banks because all of your money goes into a common pool. As a result, you can be rest assured that if something happens, the money is available for use. This is not true when you work with traditional banks where your money is usually stored in various accounts which are not liquid. Traditional banks may lend to you but you will need to pay them back with interest and fees.
Another advantage to credit unions is that you can get a lot of the financial services you would like without having to go through a traditional bank. Most credit unions have savings and checking accounts and even some high-interest loans. Some unions even have health care plans, retirement plans and other types of features that you cannot get from most other financial services companies.
The National Credit Union Administration or the NCUA ensures that all credit unions are properly regulated. One of their main functions is to oversee the credit union's activities so members can count on it for financial assistance and trustworthy lending practices. They also provide technical and informational support for credit unions as well as working with the government to ensure fair and competitive rates.
If you want to open an account at a local credit union but you do not have a lot of extra money to invest, you may consider getting a credit union tied package. Some credit unions allow members to get bank accounts tied to their membership. If you have a good history with one credit union, you may be able to transfer your checking and savings accounts to their banks. This helps you avoid fees associated with opening a new account at a new bank. In most cases, you will still have full access to all of your credit unions' features.
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