How to Join a Credit Union
Your local alternative to banks.
Credit unions are financial institutions, similar to banks, but owned by its members. Credit unions got started in Germany in 1852 and were first introduced in the United States in the early 1900s. Today, there are more than 11,000 credit unions across the country with more than 70 million Americans belonging to one. If you would like to join a credit union, the following instructions can make this a possibility.
1. Know the requirements. There are probably many credit unions in your area. What you need to discover first are what each institution requires for joining. Many employers sponsor their own credit unions, while others require you to belong to a group such as a labor union, a church, a homeowner’s association or a specific college. In some cases you can join a group such as consumer association and that move makes you eligible to join a particular credit union.
2. Find a credit union. It is easy to find a credit union in the area where you live. The MyCreditUnion.gov website offers a credit union locator tool. Simply plug in your location by zip code, choose a radius ranging from 5 to 60 miles and hit the submit button. A list of locations will appear on the map. Click on the results for each credit union name to discover what is required to join. Learn about the services offered — if you are satisfied with a particular credit union, then go ahead and make application.
3. Make application. To join a credit union, you typically will need to determine eligibility and then open an account. Most credit unions require new members to pay $5 to $10, a fee that entitles them to one share in this nonprofit institution. Once you have filled out your application, have paid the fee or made a deposit, then you are a member of this credit union.
Credit Union Notes
As a member-owned institution, a credit union provides banking services that are competitive to other financial institutions. Loan rates are typically lower as are banking fees, with members given voting privileges too. You may want to ask a credit union representative about your role as member and what special advantages there are by joining.
Is a credit union right for you? It can be especially if membership input is important to you. Your money is safe too with accounts federally insured for up to $250,000.
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