WASHINGTON (3/7/16)--This week, March 6-12, is National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), a coordinated campaign from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that encourages consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions.
Choosing a credit unions as their primary financial institution is one of the best personal financial decisions a consumer can make, the program noted on its website.
Credit unions are democratically controlled. A volunteer board of directors is elected by members to manage a credit union. Members vote on board elections as well as any other credit union official positions open for election at the annual membership meeting.
Because credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions, their focus is serving the financial needs of their members and not making a profit. The cooperative structure of credit unions creates a cycle of mutual assistance towards the common goal of the financial well-being of members. One member’s savings becomes another member’s loan.
On the whole, credit unions typically offer higher rates on savings, fewer fees, and lower rates on loans. Any additional profits are reinvested into the families and communities served by the credit union, not sent to out-of-state shareholders like for-profit banks.
Credit unions have also built a stellar reputation with consumers for personal service and good corporate citizenship, the FTC noted. Many credit unions serve their communities through financial literacy programs, free personal finance seminars and student-run branches.
People all over the world belong to credit unions, including more than 105 million members in the United States, according to the Credit Union National Association.
To join a credit union, you must be eligible for membership. Members of each credit union share a "common bond," such as being employed by the same employer, belonging to an organization or church, or living in the same community. Some credit unions serve multiple groups with different common bonds. Each credit union determines the specific group or field of membership it will serve, subject to approval of the National Credit Union Administration.
Click here to find the credit union that’s right for you.
Also, this week FTC--working with more than 100 federal, state and local agencies, consumer groups, and national organizations--will spotlight efforts to protect consumers from fraud, identity theft and other consumer issues. NCPW.gov offers information on a wide range of topics, including credit and debt, online safety, impostor and other scams, identity theft and more.