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What is a Credit Union?

Watch our short video about the differences between banks and credit unions!

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Although credit unions have certain characteristics in common with banks, savings and loans and mutual banks, they are clearly distinguishable from these depository institutions in their structural and operational characteristics. Many banks or thrifts exhibit one or more the following five characteristics; but only credit unions display all five together:

First, Credit unions are member-owned, and each member is entitled to one vote in selecting board members and in certain other decisions. Although other mutual institutions are also member owned, voting rights are generally allocated according to the size of the mutual member’s deposits, rather than being “one member, one vote”.

Second, credit unions do not issue capital stock. Credit unions create capital or net worth by retaining earnings. Most credit unions begin with no net worth and gradually build it over time.

Third, credit unions rely on volunteer, unpaid Board of Directors whom the members elect from the ranks of membership. The Board of Directors is responsible for setting credit union policies and determining the direction of the credit union.

Fourth, credit unions operate as not-for-profit institutions, in contrast to shareholder-owned depository institutions. All earnings are retained as capital or returned to the members in the form or interest (dividends) on share accounts, lower interest rates on loans, or otherwise used to provide products or services.

Fifth, credit unions may only accept as members those individuals identified in a credit union’s articulated field of membership. Generally, a field of membership may consist of a single group of individuals that share a common bond; more than one group, each of which consists of individuals sharing a common bond; or a geographical community. A common bond may take one of three forms: an occupational bond applies to the employees of a firm; an associational bond applies to members of an association; and a geographical bond applies to individuals living, working, attending school, or worshiping within a particular defined community.


Once a member always a member!

Once you join Harbor Pointe, even if you move out of state you can still be a member of the credit union. Once a member always a member, no need to close your account. With free online banking, direct deposit and our free 800 number we are always close by no matter where you live.


Would you like to take part in the decisions of your credit union?

A volunteer position on the credit union’s Board of Directors may be the right fit for you.
Board of Directors are elected to three-year terms after which they may be re-elected. Elections are held at the Annual Meeting each year. If you are interested in running for a volunteer position on the Board of Directors please send your written response with qualifications, desire to run and contact information to: Harbor Pointe Nomination Committee, PO Box 161558 Duluth, MN 55816.