Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that are owned by account holders, members, with the funds invested in the institutions being invested back or paid out to members as dividends. Such unions do not pay federal or state taxes, which allows them to charge lower rates on interests compared to banks or other organizations providing financial services.
The initial goal of case federal credit unions was to create cooperative financial organizations for individuals sharing common bonds. Union members can work for the same institution or business, attend the same financial institution, serve in the same military forces, or even belong to the same religious congregation. For example, credit unions for teachers are used to serve the interests of teachers who can invest in their common goals. In the recent years, the use of case credit unions has become highly popular, with more and more individuals understanding their value to personal financial well-being.
It is notable that the growth of credit unions in the United States and worldwide has been subjected to resistance from banks that perceive not-for-profit financial institutions as unfair competition. The unfairness of the competition is attributed to the fact that credit unions do not have to pay taxes to the government. The nature of a financial union dates back to the creation of cooperative movement in 1844 in England.
The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers is the first cooperative that pooled one pound sterling from each member to open a store that would sell basic provision such as candles or flour. The first official credit union was established in German in 1849 to protect poor urban workers from loaning money from loan sharks. Thus, the orientation on the common goal of financial stability and return on investment is the main reason for credit union membership.
The modern National Credit Union Administration, which was formed in 1970, now regulates all federal credit unions and oversees their operations. The regulation of the services provided by credit unions is important for potential investors who have a common goal. The advancement of technologies has also allowed the operations of such unions to become more effective; for instance, case credit union online banking is both convenient and efficient. By using the Internet, a person can search “credit union near me” to get information on local credit unions that could provide financial support and stability in the long-run.
The types and objectives of credit unions depend on their specialization and the mode of regulation. For example, federal credit unions are controlled by the Federal Credit Union Act. State-chartered credit unions are controlled by state banking authorities. Natural-person credit unions are intended to financial serve individuals with common goals while corporate credit unions offer services to natural-person unions. The possible membership of certain individuals in credit unions depends on their degree of qualification. While some unions allow members’ relatives to participate, others may require individuals to have employer-sponsors that would finance the initial membership in a union.