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What is a Credit Union?

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives created to encourage savings and provide a source of credit for individuals of limited and moderate means. Credit unions were founded on the principle of "not for profit, not for charity, but for service." The philosophy of "people helping people" is the cornerstone of our movement.

Credit union Members share ownership of their credit union, and have democratic control (one Member, one vote). They elect from their midst a volunteer Board of Directors, which appoints the Supervisory Committee that also serves without pay. All credit unions have a limited field of Membership, meaning its Members share something in common, such as where they work, live, or go to church.

Credit unions, like other financial institutions, are closely regulated. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, administered by the National Credit Union Administration, an agency of the federal government, insures deposits of credit union members at more than 11,000 federal and state-chartered credit unions nationwide. Deposits are insured up to $250,000.

A credit union differs from a bank or savings and loan because it operates as a financial cooperative. Rather than paying stockholders dividends, all credit union excess earnings are passed along to its Members in the form of competitive rates, additional products and services, and lower fees.

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