A credit union is a member-owned financial institution organized to encourage savings and to provide loans with competitively low interest rates to members. In Washington, as elsewhere, credit unions have evolved into sophisticated financial institutions offering members a variety of services. Washington law restricts credit union membership to people who share a “common bond,” such as the same employer, the same union or benevolent association, or some similar connection.
Washington has detailed and complex requirements for the formation and operation of credit unions (WA Rev. Code Tit. 31 Ch. 12). Because of the complexity of these laws, an organization seeking to set up a credit union needs expert assistance. It is often easier to join an existing credit union than to start a new one.