The N.C. Credit Union Act, which provides for the formation and supervision of credit unions in North Carolina, was enacted in 1915. Credit unions are unique financial institutions. They are cooperative, nonprofit associations, formed to encourage thrift among their members, create a source of credit at a fair and reasonable rate of interest, and provide an opportunity for their members to use and control their own money, in order to improve their economic and social condition. Credit unions are democratically controlled and rely on volunteers to serve on committees and boards.
North Carolina has a proud history of credit unions. As of December 31, 2016, there are 37 state chartered credit unions, serving more than 2.6 million members, with assets totaling $42,067,765,365. The oldest credit union is Greensboro Postal Credit Union, founded in 1928. State Employees’ Credit Union is the largest state-chartered natural person credit union in the United States. The Latino Community Credit Union, chartered in 2000, has 66,767 members with $242 million in assets.
Credit unions offer members a low-cost alternative to other financial institutions. Historically, credit unions afford their members lower rates on loans, higher rates on savings, and lower fees on financial products.
Members’ savings in all state-chartered credit unions are protected by federal deposit insurance, up to $250,000 per account. As of October 3, 2008, share accounts in federally insured credit unions are insured up to $250,000.