Four credit union myths: Debunked

Credit unions are known for being trusted and friendly, for offering good rates and for being on the side of the consumer. They’ve become increasingly popular among hardworking Americans over the years. Yet, our What Matters Now Research shows people still have a number of misconceptions about how credit unions operate and who they serve.

Myth: Credit unions have strict rules about who can join

Credit unions are locally-owned and may appear to only serve a certain institution or community. However, while there are some credit unions that limit eligibility, many have expanded their “common bond” of membership to be inclusive and help more consumers with financial services.

Some serve a geographic location, meaning you can join if you live within a certain distance of a branch.

Others have expanded their common bond to include individuals who support a social mission that is consistent with the credit union’s membership and values.  For example, Pentagon Federal Credit Union—typically open to members of the armed services, civilian DoD employees and their families—also allows you to open an account with a one-time donation to Voice for America’s Troops or the National Military Family Association.

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