How to Join a Credit Union
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.
Chances are good, however, that you are eligible to be a credit union member. If you don’t belong to a credit union yet, here’s how to find one to join:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Try A Smarter Choice. asmarterchoice.org is a national, user-friendly, web-based service that links consumers with credit unions they may be eligible to join.
6. Contact the Illinois Credit Union League. As the primary trade association representing nearly 400 credit unions in Illinois, ICUL's Member Services Department assists consumers with finding their local credit union. Click here for more information.