Credit unions: Everything you need to know

Credit unions are sometimes referred to as the other financial institution, because they are not a bank, insurance company, brokerage firm or mortgage company.

Yet they often provide many of the same services. At present, 5,500 credit unions serve over 112 million American. A credit union is a cooperative financial institution owned and controlled by its member. They typically serve groups who have something in commonsuch as where they live work or worship.

Because a credit union is a non profit, any net earnings it might have are used to benefit its members. Like banks, credit unions, offer savings and checking accounts, ATMs, loans, retirement account, and term savings certificates.

Financial education is available to all members as credit unions assist members in becoming better educated consumers.

Credit unions may offer lower rates on credit cards and loans than other institutions. Some credit unions have established a relationship with the small business administrations to expedite loans to credit worthy small business.

While insurance and investments aren’t credit union products or service, nor are such products guaranteed by a credit unions deposit insurance.

Many credit unions have representatives of insurance and securities companies available, to assist members in making purchases of insurance, products and securities like stocks, bonds and mutual fund.

One of the main differences between banks and credit unions is membership. To join a credit union, you can live or work in a charter area, or belong to one of the select employee or association groups. So ask around and check with your employer, family, friends and neighbors, stay financially fit friend.

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