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 Credit Union Membership Has It's Priviledges

The following people can join
GHA Federal Credit Union:
The employees, doctors, nurses, medical staff and technicians of Greenwich Hospital or affiliated with Greenwich Hospital, who work in Greenwich, Ct;ie Dr.s Offices, volunteers who work at Greenwich Hospital under the supervision of the hospital staff; Employees of Oxford Health; and, also included are persons retired as pensioners or annuitants from the above employment, members of their immediate families, and organizations of such persons.  Please complete application and provide $25.00 ( check or money order) to open saving account.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT PROCEDURES FOR OPENING A NEW ACCOUNT

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.

What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver's license or other identifying documents

Call us for more information at 203-863-3450 and ask for Sue, Kathy, or , e-mail us at Diane@ghafcu.org or Kathy@ghafcu.org.

 What Is A Credit Union?

A credit union is a cooperative financial institution, owned and controlled by the people who use its services. These people are members. Credit unions serve groups that share something in common, such as where they work, live, or go to church. Credit unions are not-for-profit, and exist to provide a safe, convenient place for members to save money and to get loans at reasonable rates.

Credit unions, like other financial institutions, are closely regulated. And they operate in a very prudent manner. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, administered by the National Credit Union Administration, an agency of the federal government, insures deposits of credit union members at more than 11,000 federal and state-chartered credit unions nationwide. Deposits are insured up to $100,000.

What makes a credit union different from a bank or savings & loan?  Like credit unions, these financial institutions accept deposits and make loans--but unlike credit unions, they are in business to make a profit for a small group of stockholders. Since credit unions, on the other hand, are owned by their members, they pass along excess earnings in the form of higher savings rates, lower loan rates, and lower fees.

A credit union is a member-owned, not-for-profit, cooperative financial institution, formed to permit those in the field of membership to pool their savings, lend to one another, and own the organization where they save, borrow, and obtain related financial services. Since credit unions exist solely to serve their member-owners, you can be assured of favorable rates on your savings investments and competitively-priced, low interest rates on your loans.

Credit unions may look like banks in that they both offer financial products and services to consumers. But that's where the similarities end and the differences begin.

As cooperative organizations, credit unions exist solely to meet their members' financial needs, not to make a profit off of them. In fact, after expenses are paid and reserves are set aside, credit unions return their "profits" to members in the forms of lower loan rates, higher savings rates and free or low-cost services. That's why consumers typically get better rates at credit unions. For-profit financial institutions, on the other hand, exist to generate profits for a relatively small group of stockholders at the expense of their customers.

As a member-owner of a credit union, you have a voice in the overall governance of the credit union. Each credit union is run by a volunteer board of directors elected by, and from, the membership. This democratic process ensures the board remains accountable to the membership. At for-profit financial institutions, the boards of directors are accountable only to stockholders, not to customers.

While for-profit financial institutions can serve anyone in the general public, credit unions can serve only the individuals within their fields of membership. A credit union's field of membership is the association, affiliation or residential area stipulated in its charter that legally defines who may become a member

 

  How Did Credit Unions Start?

 

The idea for credit unions was based on the simple principle that ordinary people could pool their money and make loans to each other. This concept evolved in early 19th century Europe with the first financial cooperative being organized by a group of workers in Rochdale, England in 1844. In the 1850's and 1860's, Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch and Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen were responsible for creating the first credit unions in Germany.

In 1871, credit union legislation was considered in Massachusetts, however efforts in the 19th century to start U.S. credit unions were not very successful. The concept, however, continued to grow and in 1900, a Canadian named Alphonse Desjardins organized a credit union in Levis, Quebec. Desjardins devoted a large part of his life to credit union development in North America and organized the first credit union in the United States in 1909 in New Hampshire.

Two Americans were profoundly influenced by Desjardins' efforts: Pierre Jay, the Massachusetts banking commissioner; and Edward A. Filene, a Boston merchant. In 1908 a conference was held in Boston which included Desjardins, Jay, Filene and other concerned citizens. Working with Desjardins, Jay prepared the legislation for what was to become the first general state credit union act in the United States.

In 1921, Filene decided that the only way to promote the development of credit unions was to seek federal legislation and additional state legislation. He created the Credit Union National Extension Bureau and hired a Massachusetts attorney, Roy F. Bergengren, to help him. Bergengren and the Bureau were charged with developing effective credit union laws in each state and also at the federal level. Filene and Bergengren hoped to create a nationwide association of credit unions to provide leadership and services to existing credit unions, and to organize new credit unions. By 1935, 39 states had credit union laws and 3,372 credit unions were serving 641,800 members.

During the formative years of the credit union movement, credit unions banded together to create associations (league) in each state. In 1934 the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) was formed as a confederation of state associations. During this same year, Congress passed a Federal Credit Union Act which facilitated the organization of federal credit unions across the United States.

  Is My Money Insured At A Credit Union?

Yes. Savings in all Connecticut credit unions are insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) which is administered by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

  What Are The Benefits Of Credit Union Membership?

As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions are managed by volunteer boards of directors who are not paid for their efforts. Rather than creating high profits for paid directors and stockholders, credit unions return earnings back to their members in the form of lower rates on loans, higher dividends on savings, and fewer and lower service fees. When credit union members pool their savings so that other members can borrow, they are supporting  the credit union philosophy of "people helping people".