A credit union can perform many of the same functions as a bank. However, membership is limited to those that share a common bond, such as living in the same community. They may offer a better interest rate if you want to save money. They also may offer lower rates on loans, for example if you need to finance a large purchase. As you are considering institutions in your community, below are some terms to be familiar with.
Advice - An institution’s written acknowledgement of a transaction related to your account, for example that a check has cleared.
Demand deposit - Funds in a member’s account that are subject to withdrawal on demand.
Loan draft - A mechanism that allows a member to draw funds against an existing loan amount.
NCUA - National Credit Union Association, the federal regulatory agency responsible for chartering, examining and insuring any federal institution of this type. Also may insure the accounts in many state-chartered institutions as is sometimes required by state law.
Share draft account - A checking account. Your dollars on deposit are referred to as shares.
Yield - The interest rate paid on an account or certificate of deposit.
Average daily balance - A method used to set the interest on the balance of a loan from a bank or other finance institution. Purchases are added to the existing balance and then payments subtracted, and the result divided by the number of days in the month.
Certificate of deposit - A receipt for funds deposited for a specific period of time and at a certain interest rate.
Modern credit unions have existed in one form or another since 1852, when the accountant and scholar Franz Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch consolidated two of his pilot projects to form the world's first union. Since then, credit unions have evolved to become complex finance institutions, governed and controlled by a community of members.
Today, credit unions exist in nations and states across the globe, and they remain dedicated to serving the financial needs of their community of members. These needs may vary from legal financing to home equity financing to auto financing, or anything in between.
Members rely on their unions to establish checking and savings accounts. They also use them for all of their credit card and ATM needs. And they often use them to take out loans as well.
Credit unions are typically, but not always, smaller than banks, and unlike banks, their interest rates are established by their members.
Credit unions are completely secure, and they may be chartered at the state or federal level. Federal unions are generally more tightly regulated than state unions. But both offer interested members a variety of ways to save money and properly finance their lives.
Anyone interested in learning a little more about these interesting financial institutions ought to consider contacting a member of their nearest credit union. If you decide to apply to become a member of a union, and you're approved by the existing members, you could start saving large quantities of money almost instantly. Personal financial freedom could be just a phone call away!