Finding a Credit Union

by Misty Weaver-Ostinato

I love credit unions. I have actually never used a bank. There are many reasons I hate banks, and many reasons I love credit unions. One of the major reasons I've never used a bank is that most of them have a minimum balance you have to keep in your checking account. Having paid my own way through college, then paying for my own wedding, having two kids in very short order and buying a new house, there was no way I could keep money in my checking account. We were either paying bills or saving for something.

Luckily, I have always had a job where I had access to a credit union. This isn't the case for millions of other people that want to get into a credit union. There has been a recent change in laws that have allowed credit unions to relax their membership restrictions. It's now a lot easier to find one. Here are some tips on starting your search.

  • Start with your employer. Ask the personnel manager or your boss if employees have access to a local credit union.

  • Ask your family. The old restrictions on who qualifies as a family member have been stretched beyond belief at some credit unions. You may qualify as a niece, aunt, nephew, or even uncle of a family member.

  • Check with your neighbors. Some credit unions are now admitting members within a certain geographical location.

  • Check for credit union listings.

If you still can't find a credit union you can call CUNA at 1-800-358-5710 and they will actually help you find one. Once you find a credit union that you are eligible to join, make sure you ask them the same questions you would a bank.

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