Got questions about Credit Unions, their purpose and how they work? We discovered informative answers to frequently asked questions about Credit Unions on the Credit Union National Association website.
- What does it mean that Credit Unions are not-for-profit?
"Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. We exist to serve our members, not to make a profit. Unlike most other financial institutions, credit unions do not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders. Instead, earnings are returned to our members in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest on deposits, and lower fees."
- Do Credit Unions pay taxes?
"Credit unions do pay taxes – payroll taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes. Congress exempts credit unions from federal income taxes. The exemption was established in 1937, affirmed by statute in 1951, and re-affirmed in 1998 in H.R. 1151, the Credit Union Membership Access Act, which states:
"Credit unions, unlike many other participants in the financial services market, are exempt from Federal and most State taxes because credit unions are member-owned, democratically operated, not-for-profit organizations generally managed by volunteer boards of directors and because they have the specified mission of meeting the credit and savings needs of consumers, especially persons of modest means.
- Who owns the Credit Unions?
"Credit unions are economic democracy. Each credit union member has equal ownership and one vote — regardless of how much money a member has on deposit. At a credit union, every customer is both a member and an owner."
- Who sets the direction for Credit Unions?
"Each credit union is governed by a board of directors, elected by and from the credit union’s membership. Board members serve voluntarily."
- Who is eligible to be a Credit Union member?
"By current federal statute, credit unions cannot serve the general public. People qualify for a credit union membership through their employer, organizational affiliations like churches or social groups, or a community-chartered credit union."
- How do Credit Unions educate their members on finances?
"Credit unions assist members to become better-educated consumers of financial services. Additionally, CUNA is partnering with the National Endowment for Financial Education, a not-for-profit foundation, to expand financial education among high school students. A national study shows that just ten hours of personal finance education can positively affect students' spending and savings habits for a lifetime.
- Are you sure the Credit Unions have members best interests at heart?
"Credit unions exist to help people, not make a profit. Our goal is to serve all of our members well, including those of modest means – every member counts. Our members are fiercely loyal for this reason. They know their credit union will be there for them in bad times, as well as good. The same people-first philosophy causes credit unions and our employees to get involved in community charitable activities and worthwhile causes – just ask."Still have questions? Or, are you interested in finding a Credit Union that is the best fit for you? Contact your local Credit Union representatives for more info and to discover the Credit Union difference!