A credit union is a cooperative, not-for-profit financial institution organized to promote thrift and provide credit to members. It is member-owned and controlled through a board of directors elected by the membership. The board serves on a volunteer basis and may hire a management team to run the credit union. The board also establishes and revises policies, sets dividend and loan rates, and directs certain operations. The result: members are provided with a safe, convenient place to save and borrow at reasonable rates at an institution which exists to benefit them, not to make a profit.
Most financial institutions are owned by stockholders, who own a part of the institution and intend on making money from their investment. A credit union doesn’t operate in that manner. Rather, each credit union member owns one “share” of the organization. The user of credit union services is also an owner, and is even entitled to vote on important issues, such as the election of member representatives to serve on the board of directors.
The first credit union cooperatives started in Germany over a century ago. Today, credit unions are found everywhere in the world. The credit union movement started in this country in Manchester, New Hampshire. There, the St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association, a church-affiliated credit union, opened its doors in 1909.
Yes. All savings accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA, the National Credit Union Administration, an agency of the federal government. IRA accounts are insured separately at $250,000.
A credit union exists to serve a specific group of people, such as a group of employees or the members of a professional or religious group. This is called a “field of membership.” The field of membership may include where they live, where they work, where they go to school, where they attend church or where a business or organizations is located. Our membership spans from Allegany and Garrett Counties in Maryland, to Mineral, Preston and Tucker Counties in West Virginia.