Credit Unions – An Overview

I’ve only been a credit union member once. I enjoyed it until they closed down my checking account for overdrawing it too many times. Completely my fault, of course.

But, credit unions had a stigma in my mind after that. But I have a friend who swears he’ll never go back to a bank after having been a credit union member. He’s not alone. Credit unions are popular and seem to be growing more so each year.

Miranda Marquit, at, wrote a nice overview of credit unions.

She writes a little on their history and how, surprisingly, credit unions have been around for a while:

“In any case, the idea of a cooperative effort to make financial institutions more accessible to the poor and lower middle class, and to the rural, began in Europe in the mid-1800s.”

She then describes what it means to be a member of a credit union:

“Credit union members are supposed to share common characteristics. Some of these characteristics can include living in a specific geographic area, belonging to the same workplace, or attending the same university.”

She concludes with a few tips on where to find information on credit unions in your area as well as credit unions following the online/virtual banking model like ING.

Do you belong to a credit union? If so, do you feel service the is better? I’d like to hear your opinion on the credit union vs. bank argument.

2 Responses to “Credit Unions – An Overview”

  1. Jenn @ Paying Myself August 24, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    My personal accounts have been at a credit union for as long as I can remember. My parents also have their accounts there. Everyone there knows my Dad and our family, and they are friendly and treat us well. I have been out of town for eight years now and still maintain my accounts there with little difficulty. The customer service is great. For example, my debit card popped up as having been used at a store where there was some debit card fraud. They called me at home, then called my Dad, and then got my work number and called me there – all to make sure I got a new debit card as soon as possible. Very impressive.

  2. Jerret August 24, 2010 at 6:17 pm #

    You’re right. That is very impressive. I had a credit union while in college but I made so little money that I don’t think it really mattered. Thanks for the comment.