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What Are The Requirements to Join a Credit Union?

Chris Gottschalk

Chris Gottschalk About The Author

Jan 28, 2020 7:19:00 AM

By now, it’s pretty much common knowledge that credit unions have advantages the big banks just can’t match. Credit unions typically offer lower interest rates for loans, lower fees and higher savings rates, as well as several resources to put you on the path to financial success.

So, why don’t more people join credit unions?

One of the big reasons is that people think credit unions are exclusive, with strict membership requirements you absolutely need to meet in order to join. Maybe you have to be part of a worker’s union, or maybe you need to be part of a specific institution, like the Mayo Clinic.

Admittedly, this used to be true across the board. However, these days most credit unions have much easier requirements you have to meet in order to become a member. In order to explain what these requirements are, though, you should understand why credit unions have membership requirements in the first place.

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Why Do Credit Unions Have Membership Requirements?

Credit unions were first formed to provide safe financial services to groups that banks could or would not serve. As the credit union movement spread through the United States, though, communities formed credit unions for members with a common bond, like living in the same town, belonging to the same church or having membership in the same labor union.

However, most credit unions these days have a Community Charter. This means that credit union membership is open to everyone who lives in a specific geographic location, usually a city or county.

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How Strict Are Current Credit Union Membership Requirements?

If you live in Rochester, almost all the credit unions have community charters. As long as you’re part of the community, you can join.  Most of the community charters cast a pretty wide net, so you’re likely to be eligible to join more than one credit union.

The one exception is Mayo Employees Federal Credit Union, which restricts membership to current and retired employees of the Mayo Clinic, volunteers of all Mayo affiliated entities and Mayo Clinic students, and their immediate family members. 

For instance, according to the First Alliance Credit Union community charter, if you live, work, worship, own a business or attend school in Olmsted, Dodge, Winona, Wabasha, or Goodhue counties, you can be a member. All you have to do is show proof, usually in the form of a driver’s license or a piece of mail.

That’s it. That’s all you have to do to become a member.

Become a First Alliance Credit Union Member Today

Becoming a credit union member is easy. Even better, once you’ve become a member at a credit union, your membership doesn’t expire, even if you leave the area. Become a First Alliance Credit Union member today and take advantage of all the benefits First Alliance has to offer.

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