There were a number of questions about credit unions after I did the FDIC classroom and I wanted so make sure that we looked at every opportunity for account protection so here is a downloadable file from the NCUA (National Credit Union Administration) about credit union account protection. As the admin body for the credit unions (as FDIC does banks) the NCUA helps administer the NCUSIF (National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund).
Personally, the NCUA was difficult to speak to a live person AND once I did speak to a department head and received this email I discovered that he was a contractor for PACA (Offices of Public and Congressional Affairs) and didn't seem to have a grasp of many of the questions that were personally answered by the FDIC departments when I called them.
There were several items that stood out upon comparing the FDIC vs. the NCUA:
1) Credit unions are very different based on locality and the membership of the union. You will find that perhaps in your area they do not have a wealth management/brokerage division to deal with large deposits. See your local credit for programs they may offer.
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2) Membership. Joining a credit union will require some type of membership requirement whether it be employment based or relation to employees. There is also in some cases purchase of minimum required "shares" or maintenance of "shares". You will find in some cases they call the accounts "shares"
3) Interest. Interest is determined IN MOST CASES by a membership vote of some kind. Sometimes by the full membership and sometimes by an elected board of members. See the local regulations to see how this would be determined. In speaking to one locally, the BEST absolute interest rate was a mere .75% for a 25k deposit.
4) Services. Again, most banks offer the same services (some more limited in rural areas by appointment) while Credit Unions will vary by "branch". Understanding also if you travel you probably won't have a "branch" close to you in many instances as they are individualized.
5) Limited Protection. In speaking directly with several credit unions they were limited (because of no wealth management/brokerage division) on large deposit protection. If you were an individual with a million USD to deposit and no family to use for beneficiaries, you would be limited on protection options. Again, remember credit unions change based on membership and location. See availabilities in your area.
The main difference in the accounts that I could see was the opportunity through the Credit Union to add beneficiaries to a joint account, although the legal entitlement to funds for beneficiaries presents a different area for you to manage. Please feel free to download this .pdf file from the NCUA reviewing their insurance coverage.
As always, please see your tax professional for advice on protection and coverage of your funds. Hopefully this will add to your arsenal of information to make well informed and personalized decisions for you and your family...