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Credit Unions Frequently Asked Questions

What is a credit union?

A Credit Union is cooperative, nonprofit corporation, incorporated to encourage thrift among its members and create a source of credit at a fair and reasonable cost.

How do I join a credit union?

You can call the Wisconsin Credit Union League at (800) 242-0833 or the Office of Credit Unions at (608) 261-9543. Either agency can give you a list of credit unions in your area.

Are my accounts fully insured at a credit union?

Credit Unions cannot do business in Wisconsin unless their accounts are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The accounts are insured up to $250,000.

How many members should there be to operate a successful credit union?

A credit union should have anywhere from 400-500 potential members in order to have adequate resources to stay in business.

Who do I call when I think I want to charter a new credit union?

Contact the Department on Financial Institutions, Office of Credit Unions at (608) 261-9543 to find out the proper steps and important issues of opening a credit union. Generally, the first step will be determining the membership of your credit union. The second step involves a survey of interested parties (potential members). However, it is best to proceed with the Department of Financial Institutions, Office of Credit Union’s assistance.

What are the benefits of a state charter?

A state charter gives you access to the Office of Credit Unions right here in your own state. If you have questions or need any assistance, Department of Financial Institutions, Office of Credit Unions is easily reached. You can call (608) 261-9543, or check our web-site, http://www.wdfi.org.

What are fields of membership (FOM)?

Fields of membership are the groups of people that fill the necessary requirements to be in a particular credit union. Membership in a credit union is limited to people having a common bond, like their occupation or the city they live in.

How often should membership meetings be held?

Credit unions are required to have annual membership meetings. There should be briefings from the officers and committee chairs, and any problems that may arisen since the last meeting should be discussed. Credit union members vote for their Board of Directors at the annual meeting.

How often are the board and committees of a credit union required to meet?

The Board of Directors should meet on a monthly basis. Committees meet with a frequency based on its focus and workload.

Can board and committee members be compensated?

Because a credit union is a nonprofit organization, there is no compensation for the board or committee members. However, committee members can receive compensation for duties above and beyond what is expected of them. Credit unions can reimburse directors for out-of-pocket expenses related to attendance at board meetings.

How is the dividend rate on regular shares determined?

According to the law, dividends are only paid out of net earnings, after provisions for required reserves have been made. The Board of Directors decides on the most affordable rate.

Who do I contact if I have a complaint about a credit union?

If the credit union you have a complaint about is federally chartered, you can call the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) at (630) 245-1000. If your inquiry relates to a state- chartered credit union, then you should call the Department of Financial Institutions, Office of Credit Unions at (608) 261-9543.