CU FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is a credit union?
A. Credit unions provide financial services that are the same or similar to other types of financial institutions, but instead of being profit-driven, they are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. Member deposit accounts form a money pool that all members are eligible to borrow from. After expenses are paid, the income from loans and fees is returned to the credit union’s members in the form of lower loan rates, higher yield savings and investment accounts, no or low fee money management services, and outstanding personal service.

Q. What else makes a credit union different?
Unlike for-profit institutions, there are no stockholders. A credit union is democratically controlled by its members. Members elect a volunteer Board of Directors that set credit union policies. The daily operations are managed by paid professionals, or in the case of a smaller credit union, by volunteers. A credit union’s primary purpose is to help its members enjoy a more affordable and secure financial future based on the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.”

Q. Who can join a credit union?
A. Not everyone can join a credit union. Credit unions serve a specific field of membership as defined by their federal or state charter. Anyone who falls within this common bond can join. A common bond is defined as the employees of a company, members of a civic or church group organization, or residents of a community. Generally, a member’s immediate family by blood or marriage may also become members.

If you work for one of our select employer or a member of an organization within our filed of membership, you are eligible for Alcoa Pittsburgh FCU membership. Once you join, your immediate family can also become members. See our Member Groups.

Q. Who governs and regulates credit unions?
A. A credit union receives its authority to operate by obtaining a federal or state charter. Annual examinations and oversight are conducted by regulatory agencies, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for federal credit unions, and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking for credit unions chartered under Pennsylvania law.

Q. Are my savings insured?
A. Member deposit accounts are federally insured up to $250,000 and Individual Retirement Accounts are insured separately for up to an additional $250,000, for a combined total up to $500,000. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCSIF) is administered by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the federal government. The fund is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States and no taxpayer funds are used to support the NCUA or the NCSIF.

Q. I don’t have a great credit rating and I can’t get a traditional bank account, can I open a credit union account?
A. We provide savings and checking accounts for people who have faced financial challenges in the past. Call or stop by for the details. Contact Us.

Q. Do all members save money at a credit union?
A. Studies show credit union members can save as much as $300 a year with basic credit union accounts and services. When members take advantage of credit union loans or refinance loans they have elsewhere, they could save even more. The more loans, accounts and services you use, the more you’ll earn and save.