What is a Credit Union?
A credit union is a cooperatively owned financial institution. What this means is that a group of people, like yourself, have gotten together to pool their money for the benefit of all. From the outside, a credit union looks much like a bank. A credit union will offer financial services such as savings accounts, checking accounts, IRA accounts, loans of all types and other various financial products. The big difference is, when you open an account at a credit union, you become a member and a part owner. Since their inception in the mid-1850’s, the credit union guiding principles have remained the same: (1) Only people who are credit union members should borrow there; (2) loans are made for "prudent and productive" purposes; (3) a person's desire to repay (character) is considered more important than the ability (income) to repay. Members are, after all, borrowing their own money and that of their friends.
A credit union is owned by the membership. Each year, a credit union will hold an annual meeting to elect a Board of Directors and to report to the membership the status of the credit union. Each member, regardless of how much they have on deposit, is entitled to one vote at the annual meeting. The Board of Directors is elected from the membership and serves without pay. The Board serves to guide the credit union, to insure that the credit union is operated on a sound financial basis and to chart a course for implementing new services that are requested by the membership.
A credit union is a non-profit organization. All profits made are returned to the members in some fashion. This may be in the form of an interest rebate on loan interest paid, an extra dividend paid to savings accounts, lower loan rates, fee reductions or various other methods. What this means for you is that loans and services will generally cost you less and savings will generally pay you more than elsewhere because the need to make a profit is eliminated. Credit union membership is financially rewarding!!
The money that you have on deposit is safe, too. All deposits in any Vermont credit union are federally insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Insurance Fund (NCUIF) which is administered by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the United States Government.
There are three basic types of credit unions. A community-based credit union can accept members from a specific geographic area. (i.e. your County Credit Union). An occupational based credit union can accept members with a similar occupation (i.e. municipal, postal, etc.). An organizational credit union can accept members from an organization (i.e. medical center, etc.). Membership in a credit union is not open to just anybody. The membership requirements for each credit union are based on its type of charter. The White River Credit Union is a community-based credit union.
More than eighty million people across the United States are taking advantage of the low cost financial services of a credit union. Wouldn’t you benefit from becoming one of them?