FAQ's About Firefighter Credit Unions
One of the great benefits of being a firefighter is the aspect of family that comes along with the job. Firefighters have taken that to a whole new level with fire credit unions – organizations that are just like regular banks but are not-for-profit, have much better rates for loans, and little to no service fees. Also, once you’re a member of these credit unions, any member of your family can join, and once you’re a member you’re always a member.
How are firefighter credit unions different from a bank?
A credit union is a group of people with a permit to do business with each other. A credit union is not a credit bureau; it is not a labor union; it is not a loan company or a financial house; it is a group of people who have joined forces to manage their own money. Its basic objectives are to teach and encourage thrift among members and, through their combined savings, extend to members low-cost credit for any worthwhile purpose.
As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, firefighter credit unions are able to offer you better rates and personal service than for-profit banks. They usually also do not have any minimum balance requirements or charge any fees to maintain a share draft (checking) or savings account.
Membership typically lasts a lifetime, which is especially convenient if you change jobs at some point. Career, volunteer, and rescue personnel are equally welcomed at firefighter credit unions.
If you’re retired, can you still join a firefighter’s credit union?
Yes. Retired employees, credit union family members and employees of active and retired fire fighters and safety force employees and their families are always eligible to join. Firefighter credit unions also may allow residents of the area or employees of select businesses to join. Check with your local chapter for details.
What products and services do firefighter credit unions usually offer?
Most firefighter credit unions are full-service financial institutions that offer a variety of savings and loan products, as well as a full menu of services to make it easy for you to access your funds.
- * Savings accounts
- * No-fee (or low-fee) checking accounts
- * Share certificates
- * Money market accounts
- * Club accounts
- * IRAs
- * New and used auto loans
- * New and used boat/RV/motorcycle loans
- * Classic, Gold and Platinum Visa Credit Cards
- * First mortgages and home equity lines of credit
- * ATM Cards and Visa Check Cards
- * Direct Deposit/Payroll Deduction
- * Accessible ATMs
- * Internet Banking