Back to basics: Are all members created equal?

With reportedly 108 million credit union members, it’s no secret that credit unions are a terrific choice for American consumers seeking financial services. Credit unions are member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institutions that provide local communities with key financial products.  Unlike banks, which operate with the purpose of maximizing shareholder profits, credit unions operate with the purpose of returning benefits to their member-owners in the form of lower interest rates on loans and higher returns on savings and deposits. According to an independent study released by NAFCU earlier this year, the cumulative benefit credit unions provide the greater economy totals over $16 billion per year.

Of course, to benefit from the advantages of credit union membership, individuals must be eligible to join a credit union. Usually, this means a person falls within a credit union’s field of membership. A federal credit union’s field of membership may include individuals who share a common bond of occupation, association, or community.  But if a person doesn’t directly qualify for membership, they may still be eligible to join because of a close relationship with someone who does qualify.

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