What is a Credit Union?
A credit union is an institution charted to conduct financial transactions. They are like other financial institutions, but better. They focus on good customer service and offer a full range of services. They are financially strong and typically offer more favorable rates and lower fees for services.
What makes credit unions unique?
Credit unions originated in Europe in the 1800’s to serve people who didn’t have access to bank credit. These are a couople of reasons why credit unions are unique!
- You are an owner in your credit union and you have a say in how it is run.
- Credit Unions are owned by members who save and borrow at them. There are no outside shareholders or profits.
How do I join?
To become a member of First Pioneers Federal Credit Union you must (1) Live, work, worship, or attend school in Lafayette Parish, Acadia Parish, St. Martin Parish, Vermilion Parish, Iberia Parish, Louisiana (2) must be an immediate relative (mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, sister, brother, child) of someone who is already a member. The cost to join the credit union is minimal. You must deposit a minimum of $5.00 to get your account started. The first $5.00 in the account represents your ownership share in the credit union and must remain on deposit as long as the account is open.
I’ve heard that it’s easy to make loans at the credit union? Is that true?
We pride ourselves in lending money to deserving members. We do whatever we can to help someone borrow and try to get them the best rate while helping them. However, there are standards that we must adhere to for safety and soundness and regulatory purposes that prohibit us from approving every loan application we take.
How is the credit union run?
A Board of Directors elected by the credit union membership, all volunteers, provides direction and oversights. The Board formulates policies and hires a CEO to run day to day operations of the credit union. Our competent, friendly staff carries out policies and provides member service. A supervisory committee, also elected by the credit union membership provides financial and regulatory guidance. We are charted by the NCUS (National Credit Union Administration).
Insuring your deposits?
All deposits are insured up to $250,000.00 by the NCUA, an agency of the federal government. The NCUA insurance serves the same function as the FDIC does for banks.
What are your business hours?
Our hours are 8:00 – 5:00 Monday through Thursday and 8:00 – 6:00 on Friday. We offer ATM and VISA DEBIT Cards that can be used when our office is closed. We also offer Home Banking. Bill Pay and Audio Response that can be used 24-7. In addition, our ATM and DEBIT cards can be used at any Capital One ATM with no service change and you can make face-to-face credit union transactions at hundreds of Credit Union Service Center locations across the U.S. and in some other countries.
Where are you located?
Our main branch is located at 2235 South College Road Extension in Lafayette (between Kaliste Saloom and Verot School Road and between Pinhook Road and Evangeline Thruway). Our New Iberia branch is located at 2711 Hwy. 14.
How can I sign up for membership?
All of the necessary forms to join the credit union are in your packet. You can complete the forms at your earliest convenience and come by to open your account or mail in the forms. Please contact the credit union and we will let you know what types of identification are accepted to open your account. Our telephone numbers are 337-233-8833 or 1-800-423-7108. Click here to apply online.
Who can join a credit union?
To become a member of First Pioneers Federal Credit Union you must either (1) Live, work, worship, or attend school in Lafayette Parish, Acadia Parish, St. Martin Parish, Vermilion Parish, Iberia Parish, Louisiana (2) must be an immediate relatice (mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, sister brother, child) of someone who is already a member. The cost to join the credit union is minimal. You must deposit a minimum of $5.00 to get your account started. The first $5.00 in the account represents your ownership share in the credit union and must remain on deposit as long as the account is open.
Are savings deposits insured?
Yes. All savings accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA, the National Credit Union Administration, an agency of the federal government.
What is the purpose of a credit union?
The primary purpose in furthering their goal of service is to encourage members to save money. Another purpose is to offer loans to members. In fact, credit unions have traditionally made loans to people of ordinary means. Credit unions can charge lower rates for loans (as well as pay higher dividends on savings) because they are nonprofit cooperatives. Rather than paying profits to stockholders, credit unions return earnings to members in the form of dividends or improved services.
How did credit unions start?
The first credit union cooperatives started in Germany over a century ago. Today, credit unions are found everywhere in the world. The credit union movement started in this country in Manchester, New Hampshire. There, the St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association, a church-affiliated credit union, opened its doors in 1909. Today, one in every three Americans is a credit union member.
Who owns a credit union?
Most financial institutions are owned by stockholders, who own a part of the institution and intend on making money from their investment. A credit union doesn’t operate in that manner. Rather, each credit union member owns one “share” of the organization. The user of credit union services is also an owner, and is even entitled to vote on important issues, such as the election of member representatives to serve on the board of directors.