If you're unfamiliar with credit unions it may be difficult to tell the difference between a credit union and a bank. Credit unions are unique financial institutions, but we want to start by highlighting our similarities. Credit unions generally offer the same products and services you'll find at a bank such as checking accounts, savings accounts, and loans. We also insure the money you trust us with up to $250,000 through the NCUA (a Federal agency similar to the FDIC for banks). As for the differences, they include:
To put it simply, banks are owned by investors and credit unions are owned by their members. When you join Accentra Credit Union you become a part owner of the institution. Our volunteer board of directors is also elected by our members, meaning the credit union and its management essentially works for you.
Banks generate profits to pay their investors. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. When you do business with a credit union the profits are returned to the membership in the form of lower loan rates, higher deposit rates, and fewer or no fees for products and services. Credit union profits are also reinvested in the institution to add improvements in technology and convenience.
While credit unions were once limited to certain groups of people working for specific companies, membership is now more accessible than many think. Anyone can join a credit union - you just have to find one with a "Field of Membership" or commonality among their members that matches your personal situation. Field of Membership includes factors like employer, geographic location (For example, Accentra serves anyone that lives, works, worships, or goes to school in Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Steele, or Winona County), family - if a member of your family is already a member of credit union you may be eligible too - or membership in a group like a church, school, alumni organization, labor union, homeowners' association, etc. You can find more information on Accentra's specific eligibility requirements here
How to choose
We like to think everyone benefits from credit union membership, but needs and situations vary by individual. If you think you might be interested in credit union membership we encourage you to stop in and meet with one of our representatives. They'll be happy to answer all of your questions. Our banking colleagues will likely do the same. Compare our websites, review our rates, talk to other customers/members, and you'll have a good picture of where you and your hard-earned money will be best served. We hope it's with Accentra!