Know the facts about credit unions
What is a credit union?
Credit union is a financial co-operative organised for the sole purpose of providing service to members.
What is the difference between credit unions and other financial institutions?
The difference is in the structure. Other financial institutions are owned by stockholders who seek to profit from their investment in the organisation. Credit unions are owned co-operatively by all of their members without regard to the amount of money that a member has in the credit union.
Credit unions are directed by a board, which is a group of volunteers selected from within the membership. Credit unions return profits to their members in the form of dividends, competitive loans rates and services.
Credit unions do business with their members only.
Who regulates credit unions?
Currently credit unions are regulated by the Department of Co-operatives & Friendly Societies on behalf of the Government of Jamaica. In the near future, credit unions will be regulated by the Bank of Jamaica. The League, as the national association for credit unions, will continue to serve credit unions as mandated by the members.
How does a credit union operate?
A credit union accepts deposits from its members and offers to them a range of financial services. Members elect a board of directors at their annual general meeting. The board in turn employs a general manager to manage the day-to-day operations of the credit union. Credit union members may be elected to serve on committees in the credit union.
How does a person benefit from being a credit union member?
A credit union member is a co-owner of the credit union.
Each member has equal voting power (one vote), the same as all other members in the credit union, irrespective of the amount of his savings.
Each member has the power to exercise his/her democratic right in determining by whom and how the credit union is run.
A credit union member shares in any annual surplus.
Credit unions now offer a range of financial services, in some instances the same as those available in other financial institutions.
Members can determine the type of financial services the credit union should provide
Members are helped to save through the habit of thrift that is encouraged by credit unions.
Members can save directly and transact business at their credit unions through salary deduction facilities.
IIIIIIIHow can I find a credit union to join?
Each credit union can serve only those people who are eligible for membership. You are eligible for membership in one or more credit unions based on where you or your family members live, work or worship. This is referred to as the ‘Common Bond’.
Does age matter when a person wants to join a credit union?
A person has to be 16 years of age to become a member. However, persons under 16 years of age can still save with the credit union in specially designed youth savings products.