The idea for credit unions was based on the simple principle that ordinary people could pool their money and make loans to each other. Credit unions are financial cooperatives, owned by the people who save and borrow there. Once you deposit money in a credit union, you become a member. Credit unions serve groups that share something in common, such as where they work, live, or go to church.
Every member is an owner with an equal vote in the election of the credit union's volunteer board of directors. Credit unions return earnings to their members in the form of lower rates on loans, higher dividends on savings, and fewer and lower service fees. Many credit unions have expanded their services to include credit cards, debit cards, checking accounts, online services, IRAs, mortgages, and home equity loans.
As with other financial institutions, credit unions are regulated by state and federal agencies. The funds credit union members deposit are insured by the National Credit Union Administration to at least $250,000. IRA's are insured by the National Credit Union Administration up to $250,000.
Member Bill of rights
Credit Union members, as owners and members of their own financial institutions, have certain inalienable rights, including:
- The right to take pride in their credit union and the movement of which it's part;
- The right to cast equal votes with other members;
- The right to run for election on the credit union board and committees;
- The right to a fiscally sound, financially secure, and highly principled institution;
- The right to an organizational commitment to quality service and competitive prices;
- The right to respectful, courteous, and unbiased service;
- The right to truthful advertising and open disclosure of rates, risks, charges, obligations, terms and conditions;
- The right to responsible financial advice based exclusively on members' best interests;
- The right to complete confidentiality of all records and transactions;
- The right to timely response to loan requests, account problems, or suggestions;
- The right to recourse appeal and fair resolution of loan rejections and problems; and
- The right to timely notification and correction of credit union errors or inaccuracies.
Member conduct policy
The Upper Cumberland Federal Credit Union has adopted a policy that ensures that employees (and members) are treated with respect in a secure workplace, free from any type of abuse. This policy established rules regarding membership privileges and protects UCFCU's employees from members who may be threatening or abusive. This is not to restrict member's rights or freedoms, but to address unacceptable conduct or behavior to assure the rights and protection of the Credit Union and its employees. Personal misconduct is defined as threats or acts of violence, harassment, intimidation and other disruptive or abusive behavior, directed toward any member, employee or visitor. Privileges are defined as all UCFCU's products, services, loans, access devices, etc. other than maintenance of regular share savings account. Any or all of the following sanctions may be imposed against a member who has engaged in personal misconduct: Denial of any and all privileges; Restriction of any further contact with UCFCU other than written communication; any other action deemed necessary that is not expressly precluded by the Federal Credit Union Act, the NCUA and the Credit Union Bill of Rights.