FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a credit union?

A. A credit union provides financial accounts and services that are similar to other types of financial institutions, but instead of being profit-driven, they are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. Credit union earnings, after expenses, are returned to its members in the form of lower interest loans, higher yield savings and investment accounts, no or low fee money management services and outstanding personal service.

As a financial cooperative, Garden State FCU is owned by its members. Member deposit accounts form a money pool that enables the credit union to lend money and provide financial services to its members. After the credit union’s overhead and other expenses are paid, the income from loans is returned to members in the form of account services and higher dividends.

Q. What are the differences between a credit union and a bank?

A. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, democratically controlled by their members. We don’t serve customers; we are owned by you, our members. In contrast, banks are structured to make profits for stockholders — and it’s not uncommon for these profits to come at the expense of their customers.

At Garden State FCU, our goal is to serve your needs with decisions made in your best interest. Volunteers also play an integral role in our structure, helping set policies representing a cross-section of members. You’re encouraged to attend our annual meeting, vote, and even run for our Board of Directors!

We exist because of you, and our purpose is to ensure your financial wellbeing.

We’ve been a part of this community since 1960. We know you, and our core values match what we believe is representative of our community. These values include saving you time and money while treating you with the care and respect you deserve. As your financial partner, we appreciate the trust you’ve placed in us!

Join the movement.

As a member, you won’t be alone — there are currently more than 120 million members nationwide enjoying the credit union difference. And it circles back to our philosophical structure. We’re a not-for-profit financial cooperative: earnings are returned to you in the form of lower loan rates, better rates on deposits, and lower fees. It’s a win-win!

Stop in for a complimentary review.

We’ll help you compare the costs of your current financial institution, reviewing items such as balance requirements, transaction fees, loan payments and rates, credit card fees, and unrestricted access to your money. We’re confident we can save you money today, tomorrow, and at every stage in life.

Q. Who can join a credit union?

A. Not everyone can join a credit union. Credit unions serve a specific field of membership as defined by their federal or state charter. Anyone who falls within this common bond can join. A common bond is defined as the employees of a company, members of a civic or church group organization or residents of a community. Generally, persons within a member’s immediate family, by blood or marriage, may also become members.

If you work at one of our select employer groups or organizations you are eligible for Garden State FCU membership. Once you join, your immediate family can also become members.

Q. Who governs a credit union?

A. A credit union receives its authority to operate by obtaining a federal or state charter. Annual examinations and oversight are conducted by the supervisory agencies ‒ the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for federal credit unions. Garden State is also governed by its member-elected, volunteer Board of Directors.

Q. Are my savings insured?

A. Member deposit accounts are federally insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), which is administered by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This fund is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. No taxpayer funds are used to support the NCUA or the credit union insurance fund. There are also steps you can take to have higher insured balances. Contact the credit union for the details.

Q. I don’t have a great credit rating and can’t get a traditional bank account, will I be able to open an account?

A. We provide savings and checking accounts for people who have faced financial challenges in the past and need a fresh start. We also offer lending products for people with less than great credit. Ask for the details.

Q. Do all members save money by using a credit union?

A. Studies show the average member saves between $150 and $300 a year by conducting most of their financial business with a credit union instead of a bank. The more products and services you use, the more you’ll save.

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