Why Credit Unions Are Different
Credit unions are different from other financial institutions in many important ways—from the reasons to join, to the safety of your money, to who actually owns the credit union! We at United 1st think everyone deserves the chance to join our credit union. But we realize that before you’re willing to commit, you need all the facts.
So here’s your chance to learn what credit unions are, how they differ from other financial institutions, and why you can trust credit unions.
Members Own the Credit Union
A credit union is a democratic, member-owned cooperative. So when you join a credit union, you’re more than a member; you’re an owner—and that means you have a say in how your credit union is run.
A volunteer board of directors, elected by the members, governs a credit union. With their vote, each member has a direct impact on the direction of the credit union. As part of the democratic process, each credit union holds an annual election where members select candidates for the Board of Directors. This is very different from a bank, where stockholders vote according to the number of shares of stock they own.
Credit Unions are Not-for-Profit
Credit unions provide the same products and services as other financial institutions—but credit unions are not-for-profit and exist to help people, not to make a profit. As such, all earnings are returned to their members in the form of high-interest savings and low rate loans.
This also enables credit unions to operate at a lower cost than many for-profit institutions, and helps them to offer competitive loan and savings rates to their members.
Credit unions follow conservative investment practices and lend responsibly and live within their financial means, so you can trust your credit union's decisions.
Credit Unions Put People First
Credit unions live by the philosophy of "People Helping People.”
Credit unions across the country are committed to their communities, offering financial services to underserved populations, engaging youth in financial education, and returning profits to their members.
How Credit Unions Protect Your Money
Credit unions know that you need more than a variety of products and services. You need to know that your money is safe - and at a credit union it is.
Money Is Insured
The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) is the independent federal agency that regulates charters and supervises federal credit unions. NCUA, with the backing of the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, also operates and manages the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, insuring the deposits of nearly 90 million account holders in all federal credit unions and the majority of state-chartered credit unions. As an alternative, many credit unions choose to insure your funds through private insurance companies.
The NCUSIF provides all members of federally insured credit unions with $250,000 in coverage for their individual accounts. These accounts include regular shares, share drafts (similar to checking), money market accounts, and share certificates. Individuals with account balances totaling $250,000 or less at the same insured credit union have full NCUSIF coverage.
Members have full NCUSIF coverage at each federally insured credit union where they are qualified members. While NCUSIF coverage protects members at all federally insured credit unions from losses on a broad spectrum of savings account and share draft products, it does not cover losses on money invested in mutual funds, stocks, bonds, life insurance policies, and annuities.