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Members Owned Banks
A surprising number of consumers may not realize the important difference between credit unions and conventional banks. When an individual walks into a typical bank, they are just a customer. A credit union member, however, is part owner in the facility. The reason is because credit unions are owned by their customers, who are also called members. Credit unions are nonprofit organizations that have specific requirements as to their members. In order to join a credit union, an individual must have a common bond with other members. For example, an employer, religion, community or other common interest may be the leading factor behind some credit unions. Assuming an individual is part of these select groups, they may be able to join.
Credit unions generally offer the same services as most banks. However, some credit unions may limit their services in order to maintain the volume that will be used by the majority of their members. For this reason, credit unions are extremely competitive when up against conventional banks. Because credit unions focus on customer service and are comprised of members only, they have a distinct advantage over the profit drive behind conventional banks.
Many individuals wonder if their money is as safe with credit unions as with a local bank. The simple answer is Ďyes.í Much like conventional banks, deposits are fully insured with credit unions. The main difference is the organization that actually does the insuring, but the theme of protecting the customerís money is much the same. One of the main reasons for this is because the memberís deposits are also often referred to as an investment into the stock of the company, which means that deposits sometimes become shares and the members are stockholders. Hence the reasoning behind the claim that credit unions are owned and operated by their members.
As this article has already established, credit unions are owned by their members. However, these same members are sometimes also the volunteers who serve on the board of directors that oversee all credit union operations and decisions. The reason that these members volunteer for this type of position is so that they will have a voice in the everyday workings of the credit union and in order to protect itís status.
The funds used to operate credit unions derive from members, who also play a large role in the business operations. The reason that credit unions are so popular among members is because they are operated by those same members.
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