Nov. 20, 1997
Vol. 17, No. 5

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    Credit Union: Economical opportunity to borrow, save

    By Jennifer Vanasco
    News Office

    Forty years ago, a group of faculty and staff members decided it was important that a not-for-profit credit union be established on campus. Today, the Credit Union at the University of Chicago is still going strong, with about $7.5 million dollars in assets and about 4,400 credit union members, all of whom are employed as faculty or staff at the University or the Hospitals.

    "We have no stockholders, so the interest rates on our loans are usually lower than banks and the dividend rates on shares [called a savings account by banks] usually higher," said Stan Peters, President of the Credit Union. "We're also often the lender of last resort. We'll often make loans when banks won't."

    Peters noted that since a credit union is not a bank, it is required by law to call its services by certain names -- a member buys shares, for example, instead of depositing money into a savings account. To belong to the University's credit union, one must be a regular staff or faculty member of the University or the Hospitals.

    Like a bank, the Credit Union offers a range of services, including shares accounts, loans for used and new cars, special holiday savings plans and loans for computers bought through the Campus Computer Store. There is also a debt consolidation plan with a limit of $7,500 payable over two years with an interest rate of 12 percent. Revolving loans are offered for amounts of up to $2,500 with 15 percent interest, dependent upon length of service. The Credit Union also recently began providing home mortgage loans.

    "Our goal for 1998 is to institute share drafts, which is similar to a checking account," Peters said.

    Policy decisions are made by nine board members, led by J. Randall Dempsey, Associate Dean of Administration in the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies. Board members are staff and faculty members of the credit union who volunteer for the job. It is run on a daily basis by Peters and employees Diana Anderson, Loan Officer, and Karen Brunner, Customer Service Representative.

    To join the Credit Union requires a $1 membership fee and a minimum $25 deposit. The Credit Union is located in Room 1A of the Administration Building (in the basement). Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call 702-7179.