How to Find the Local Credit Union Near You
A credit union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative that is owned and operated by its members. Credit unions provide a safe place to save and borrow at reasonable rates. They exist to serve their members, not to make a profit.
There are several ways to find a credit union near you. The best way is to ask people you know if they are members of a credit union and if they are satisfied with the service. Another way to find a credit union is to look online or in your local telephone book. You can also contact the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which is the federal agency that regulates credit unions. The NCUA has a toll-free number, 1-800-755-1030, and a website, www.ncua.gov, where you can get information about credit unions.
Types of Credit Unions
Credit unions come in all shapes and sizes. Some credit unions serve only people who work for certain employers; others serve only people who live in certain geographic areas. There are state-chartered credit unions and federally chartered credit unions. Federally chartered credit unions must have a federal charter from the NCUA, while state-chartered credit unions must have a state charter.
To join most credit unions, you must meet certain membership requirements related to employment, geography, or affiliation with an organization. For example, many credit unions require that you live or work in their defined field of membership in order to join them. However, there are also many community-based credit unions that anyone can join regardless of where they live or work. Therefore, it’s important to find out the membership requirements before you try to join a particular credit union so that you don’t waste your time applying for membership at one that you don’t qualify for.
Services Offered by Credit Unions
Credit unions offer many of the same financial services as banks but usually at lower fees and interest rates. For example, most credit unions offer savings accounts, checking accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). In addition, many offer automobile loans, student loans, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), home mortgages, and other types of consumer loans such as unsecured personal loans and lines of credit . . . Most also have ATM networks and some even have branch offices where members can conduct transactions just as they would at most banks.