Clarifications on credit unions

Story got some facts wrong, says local credit union president

Mr. Kelly is president of STAR Community Credit Union in Chico.

The CN&R’s article two weeks ago on consumers moving their money away from the big banks to local financial institutions (“It’s your wonderful life,” by Jason Cassidy) contained several inaccuracies.

The article reported that, while credit unions are FDIC insured, they are not required to disclose the same financial data as banks, thereby making their performance ratings “harder to come by.” Credit unions are not FDIC insured, but they are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the federal government providing members of credit unions the same coverage customers of banks receive.

I can assure you credit unions are required to disclose financial data each calendar quarter to their regulatory agencies, the same as banks. Performance, safety and soundness ratings based on these financial reports are readily available online for both banks and credit unions at

The article also cited local institutions’ not having physical buildings or branch ATMs for their customers to access when they travel as an inconvenience to banking locally. This may be the case with many local banks, but the cooperative nature of credit unions permits a member of one credit union access to all others through an extensive national ATM and shared branching network at no charge. STAR members have access to more than 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The reporter correctly indicated many local banks may have accepted Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout monies from the federal government as a result of the recent financial meltdown. He failed to mention the credit-union industry has received no TARP bailout funds and no federal rescue under TARP.

The cost of a credit-union failure is borne by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, a pool of money contributed by credit unions proportionally and administered by the NCUA, resulting in no expense to taxpayers.

I agree wholeheartedly with the article when it states one is more likely to find a “George Bailey” at a local financial institution founded by local individuals with familiar faces and a stake in our community. STAR Community Credit Union has been a fixture in Chico’s financial landscape since it was formed more than 50 years ago.

When you think of local financial institutions, do not think only of banks. Consider your local credit union as well. After all, wouldn’t you rather be regarded as a member instead of just a customer?