Credit unions are for everyone, but the law places some limits on the people they may serve. A credit union's charter defines its "field of membership," which could be an employer, church, school, or community. Anyone working for an employer that sponsors a credit union, for example, is eligible to join that credit union.
If you don't belong, here's how to find a credit union to join:
- Visit aSmarterChoice.org. Credit unions are the smarter choice for financial services, and today just about everyone is eligible to join a credit union. A new consumer web site, www.aSmarterChoice.org, will give you the basics about credit unions, and its powerful online locator tool will help you find a credit union you can join.
- Call your state league. A representative will tell you about credit unions in your area that you are eligible to join. Here's a list of contacts in each state.
- Ask your boss. Your company may sponsor a credit union, or may be a select employee group (SEG) that has access to a credit union. Many employers offer direct deposit of payroll to your credit union.
- Poll your family. Does your spouse's employer sponsor a credit union? Most credit unions allow credit union members' families to join. Each credit union, however, may define "family" differently. At some, only members of your immediate family are eligible. At other credit unions, family may include extended family members, such as cousins, uncles, and aunts.
- Quiz the neighbors. Some credit unions have a "community" field of membership, serving a region defined by geography rather than by employment or some other association. Ask friends in the community if they know of a credit union you may join.
- Read the yellow pages. Some credit unions rarely advertise, so you might not know about them unless you look them up. A yellow pages display ad may state a credit union's field of membership. If not, at least you'll know what number to call to ask about membership eligibility.
- Call us. The Credit Union National Association can help you find a credit union by calling (800) 358-5710. You'll hear an electronic message that includes the name and telephone number of a person at the credit union league in your state who can help you find a credit union to join.
- Check the online database of credit unions. Use our credit union locator.