Who owns a credit union?

The credit union is owned by its Members.  Every Member, through their Membership Shareholdings, owns four shares of the organization, and has one vote on major decisions placed before the Membership. Even though every credit union is independent and locally controlled by its members, they all share a common bond: a dedication to their members and the community they serve.

How are credit unions different from the banks?

There are many differences between credit unions and banks. But the most important is that credit unions are not-for-profit co-operatives that are owned by their members who are generally composed of people living in surrounding communities. Their primary commitment is to serve their members’ financial needs. Credit unions are democratically run by a volunteer board of directors.

Whereas banks and trust companies are very large, for-profit organizations that exist to earn dividends for shareholders, mainly by charging interest on client loans.

The biggest difference is that besides keeping money in the pockets of their members, credit unions help communities prosper and partnering for public policy solutions. Credit union members can have a sense of ownership and pride in their financial institution, knowing that they are contributing to their community in a very unique way.

Can anyone join a credit union?

Anyone living or working in Canada can become a Member and join the ever increasing number of credit union members that put their trust, and their savings in credit unions and caisses populaires. 

Do I have to pay a membership fee to join a credit union?

There is no fee to join a credit union.  To become a Member (if you are over the age of 18) you are required to hold $20.00 in Membership Shares.  This entitles you to use all the services of the credit union, and have full rights as an owner/shareholder.  It is your money though, and should you ever decide to leave the credit union these Membership Shares are refunded to you.

The $20.00 represents the purchase of four shares at a price of $5.00 each.

Will my money be safe in a credit union?

Yes.  In fact, Ontario credit unions are among Canada’s soundest financial institutions. The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) insures Canadian currency deposits, including interest, to a maximum of $250,000 per Member.  Deposits held in RSP, RIF, LIRA , LIF, RESP, and TFSA are fully insured with no maximum amount.  Unique trust or joint accounts are insured separately from those in your own name, to a maximum of $250,000 per account. Learn more about FSRA.

How do credit unions operate?

Each credit union operates independently. Policies and procedures are set and monitored by a volunteer Board of elected Directors. The day-to-day operations are the responsibility of the chief executive officer. The democratic structure of credit unions is what makes them unique. Each credit union member has one vote and an equal voice in the management and direction of the credit union.

How are credit unions regulated?

Credit unions in Ontario are regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, in accordance with the provincial government’s Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act as well as the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario.

How do credit unions serve their communities?

Credit unions are community-based and community-focused. At Equity Credit Union, we play an integral role in local development by reinvesting deposits and profits in the community as personal and business loans, mortgages and potential dividends paid on Member shares.