What is a Credit Union?

A credit union is a cooperative, not-for-profit financial institution organized to promote savings and provide credit to members. It is member-owned and controlled through a board of directors elected by the membership. The board serves on a volunteer basis and may hire a management team to run the credit union. The board also establishes and revises policy, sets dividend and loan rates, and directs certain operations. The result: members are provided with a safe, convenient place to save and borrow at reasonable rates at an institution which exists to benefit them, not to make a profit. 
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Who owns a Credit Union?

Most financial institutions are owned by stockholders, who own a part of the institution and intend on making money from their investment. A credit union doesn't operate in that manner. Rather, each credit union member owns one "share" of the organization. The user of credit union services is also an owner, and is even entitled to vote on important issues, such as the election of member representatives to serve on the board of directors. 
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How did Credit Unions start?

The first credit union cooperatives started in Germany over a century ago. Today, credit unions are found everywhere in the world. The credit union movement started in this country in Manchester, New Hampshire. There, the St. Mary's Cooperative Credit Association, a church-affiliated credit union, opened its doors in 1909. Today, one in every three Americans is a credit union member. 
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What is the purpose of a Credit Union?

The primary purpose in furthering their goal of service is to encourage members to save money. Another purpose is to offer loans to members. In fact, credit unions have traditionally made loans to people of ordinary means. Credit unions can charge lower rates for loans (as well as pay higher dividends on savings), because they are nonprofit cooperatives. Rather than paying profits to stockholders, credit unions return earnings to members in the form of dividends or improved services.

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Are savings deposits insured?

Yes. All savings accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA (the National Credit Union Administration), an agency of the federal government. 
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Who can join a Credit Union?

A credit union exists to serve a specific group of people, such as a group of employees or the members of a professional or religious group. This is called a "field of membership." The field of membership may include where they live, where they work, or their membership in a social or economic group. 

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To join the credit union just come by our office and complete the membership application.

  • There are no fees for membership. The initial minimum deposit is $50 in a share account. This deposit establishes ownership in the credit union and makes one eligible for all the other benefits and services available. Don't forget, your immediate family is eligible to join.

  • Once you have joined our credit union, all you need to do is maintain a minimum of $50 in your regular savings account, to keep your membership active. This will enable you to take advantage of all the benefits for which you qualify.

  • As a member of our credit union, you are one of the owners. Show your support by taking advantage of all the services we have to offer.

  • Those members with checking and/or loan accounts receive monthly statements. Those members without checking and/or loan accounts will receive quarterly statements.

  • Once a member, always a member. Your membership is not canceled if you move or leave your place of employment.

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What is the difference between a credit union and a bank?

Credit unions are not for profit organizations whose mission is helping members achieve financial independence. They are owned by the members who have money on deposit with the credit union. Banks, of course, are owned by investors who are seeking a profit. 

  • While banks offer many of the same services as credit unions, their mission is to earn a return on their owner’s investments.

  • Another important difference is that credit unions are controlled by their members through the election of a board of directors. In a bank only the stockholders have a voice in the election of the board of directors. Bank customers have no voice in the leadership of their institution. The directors of credit unions are also volunteers. In fact, it is illegal for them to receive compensation for their work as a director. This means they make decisions based upon the membership’s best interests, not just the interests of a few stockholders.

  • Because of these differences in philosophy and leadership, credit unions are able to offer services with lower fees and better rates than banks. This may explain why year after year the banker’s own trade publication, American Banker rates credit unions highest in customer satisfaction.

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How is our Credit Union preparing for the financial marketplace of the future? 

We are committed to partnering with top providers to bring quality financial service to our members. Foremost in our consideration is security. Services such as on-line transactions will be added as they become secure, dependable, and affordable. One thing members may always be assured of is that the human touch will never leave the credit union. We will never become too big or sophisticated that our members can not talk to a real person when they have a concern.

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Useful Phone Numbers

  • BSFCU Phone: 724-588-6119

  • BSFCU Fax: 724-588-5344

  • MasterCard Lost/Stolen after normal business hours: 1-800-523-4175

  • MasterCard Transaction review for fraud monitoring purposes: 1-800-327-8622

  • VISA call to activate card:  1-800-543-5073

  • VISA customer service:  1-800-322-8472

  • Lost/Stolen VISA Card after hours:  1-800-325-3678

  • Visa Disputes:  1-800-600-5249

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