What is a credit union?

What is a credit union and how is it different from Other Financial Institutions?

A credit union is a not for profit financial cooperative, owned and operated by its members.  Unlike other financial institutions, credit unions have no stockholders: instead, they are owned by their member depositors.  When you join a credit union, you become an owner. After necessary reserve and capital levels are achieved, profits made by credit unions are returned to the member/owners through lower rates on loans, higher rates on deposits, and no or low fee services.  In contrast, at other financial institutions, rates and fees are driven by stockholders who consider their ownership an investment and place more emphasis on profits, not service.

Another distinct difference between a credit union and another financial institution is in the leadership of the organization, the board of directors.  At a credit union, the board of directors is elected by the membership of the credit union from within the membership of the credit union.  Upon joining a credit union, you become eligible to vote for the board of directors yourself.  We make you aware, however, that if you run and get elected to the board or a committee of a credit union, it is strictly on a voluntary basis. These members volunteer their time and being members themselves, they have the members’ best interest in mind.

If you would like additional information on credit unions, especially those within West Virginia, please visit the website of West Virginia Credit Union League at www.wvcul.org.