Understanding Differences in Federal vs. Privately Insured Credit Unions

Federally chartered credit unions are regulated by the National Credit Union Administration and insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. Established by Congress in 1970 to insure member share accounts at federally insured credit unions, NCUSIF is similar to deposit insurance coverage provided by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

It is important to note that some deposits at state-chartered credit unions are insured by private insurers. These private insurers provide non-federal share insurance coverage of deposits that are not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

You can tell if your credit union is protected by NCUSIF by searching for a credit union in  Find a Credit Union. In addition, credit unions that are insured by the NCUSIF must display in their offices the official NCUA insurance sign. All federal credit unions must be insured by NCUA, and no credit union may terminate its federal insurance without first notifying its members.

State vs. Federal Credit Unions

Federal Credit Union: NCUA is the regulator for ALL federal credit unions. Federal credit unions generally have the word "federal" in its name. Additionally, credit unions with headquarters in Arkansas, Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming or the District of Columbia, are federal credit unions.

State-Chartered Credit Union: If a credit union does not have the word "federal" as a part of its name and is not headquartered in Arkansas, Delaware, South Dakota, Wyoming or the District of Columbia, then it is probably a state-chartered credit union, and the state supervisory authority where the credit union's main office is located will usually be the regulator.