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Join a Credit Union and Become a Member-Owner

A credit union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative helping you live your best financial lives through membership.

Credit unions are excellent. And I suggest that everyone have a credit union as part of their financial portfolio.


Well, credit unions offer the traditional banking products you’d expect from big banks but come with the perk of membership with a financial cooperative.

With credit unions, you’re not a customer; you’re a member-owner.

Credit unions share a common goal of serving their members, not shareholders. However, each credit union has its own values, including its own way of doing things.

How to Become a Member of a Credit Union

Credit unions come in different sizes and charters, with each having its own unique culture and operation.

For example, a credit union that works explicitly with technology employees may offer better mobile apps and tech services. Likewise, a credit union for real estate agents may better understand the inconsistency of income as a realty professional.

Before we go into the types of credit unions, it’s good to know how they are chartered.

State-chartered credit unions

Credit unions that are state-chartered are supervised and regulated by the state’s financial services regulatory agency.

A state-chartered credit union may have private deposit insurance and/or share insurance through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

Federal credit unions

Federally chartered credit unions are administered and regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

All federally chartered credit unions are insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF).

4 Types of Credit Union Common Bond

It’s very simple to join a credit union. There are four types of credit unions founded under a common bond—basically, the link between its members.

Employer credit unions

Serves companies and organized unions representing labor, teachers, police officers, and government workers.

Group credit unions

Serve affiliations or associations. These group-focused credit unions include military, church groups, alumni associations, and service organizations.

Local credit unions

Serve local communities or predefined geographic areas. They serve people within a specified and defined community boundary.

Federal credit unions

Serve a larger group of individuals, and joining doesn’t have as many limitations as the others above. Most credit unions in this category can serve a national audience.

If you’ve wondered about joining a credit union, you’re in luck. You have options. There are many credit unions that you can join. In fact, you’re most likely eligible to join multiple credit unions.

How to Join a Credit Union

There are thousands of credit unions all across the United States. This means you have plenty of choices.

Each credit union has membership eligibility requirements. But basically, you’re eligible to join a credit union because of your employment, affiliation, residence, or relation to a member. And if there is a credit union, you’d like to join, then reach out to them.

How to Find the Right Credit Union

Find a local credit union that offers what you need.

  1. Ask your family and friends, speak with your boss or HR representative at work, and ask within your church or associations to which you belong.
  2. Search online using the National Credit Union Administration locator on or on our marketplace.

How to Choose a Credit Union

Before joining, you may want to ask the following questions:

  • does the mission align with my values?
  • are the products and services going to meet my banking and credit needs?
  • are my accounts easily accessible through branches, online, ATMs or apps?
  • can I speak with a live person or get online support?
  • what are the fees associated with having an account?
  • how can I access your money?
  • what additional services and benefits are offered?

You can learn more about how credit unions align with your values and read my list of 101 reasons credit unions are awesome.

Are you ready to join a credit union?

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