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Alaska Usa Credit Union - Introduction to the Alaska USA Credit Union - Corporate Status, History, Services

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Service. Value. Convenience.
-Alaska USA Credit Union motto

The Alaska USA Credit Union is a financial institute headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska with branches in Washington state and California. They have provided banking services for sixty years and continue to grow as a reliable bank alternative in Alaska and the continental northwest.

Corporate Status

As a credit union, Alaska USA is not-for-profit, granting it numerous tax exemptions for sharing its profits with its members through dividends. Yet not-for-profit is a nebulous term, as credit unions do produce profits, and lots of them—Alaska USA’s investments were worth $3.9 billion in 2009. Banks continue to lobby against credit unions’ tax exemption but have made little progress on this front.

Credit unions fall under the perview of the National Credit Union Administration, or NCUA. This federal agency supervises and charters credit unions while enforcing their not-for-profit promise. Since the instutition of the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) in 1970, this agency has also insured credit unions like Alaska USA in a manner similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC.

History

Alaska USA Credit Union joined the game on 6 December 1948 under the moniker “Alaskan Air Depot Federal Credit Union.” Its founding purpose was humble: to provide non-profit investment services for fifteen civilian residents at Fort Richardson and the Elmendorf Air Force Base in the Alaskan territory. Since then, it has grown into a credit union giant, tenth largest in the United States, with branches in Alaska, Washington state, and California and scattered members across the US.

The first extra-Alaskan branch opened in 1983 via the purchase of Whigby Federal Credit Union in Oak Harbor, Washington. It made its entrance into California in 2009 with the acquisition of two struggling unions in Victor Valley, The Member’s Own and High Desert. Their presence in Califiornia has continued to grow with their recent (2010) purchase of five Arrowhead branches in San Bernadino.

Services

Alaskan USA Credit Union provides services comparable to for-profit banking entities, and member satisfaction has contributed to their steady growth. They provide commercial and consumer loans, checking and saving services, escrow, and insurance.

Checking accounts are free provided that the member is engaged in an active direct deposit, maintains a minimum balance, or is under the age of 26. Otherwise, Alaska USA charges a $5 maintenance fee (as of 2010). They even offer many of the added features that their for-profit counterparts do, including overdraft protection, online banking, and customizable checks.

Credit services include credit cards, consumer loans, and personal loans. Catering to the rigorous vehicular needs of Alaska, the credit union is used to providing loans not only for cars but also campers, aircraft, off-road vehicles, and snow plows among other items. A military-only payday loan can even provide emergency assistance to enlisted men and women at far better rates than those available with other cash advance services.

Mortgages, insurance, and investment are also provided by Alaska USA. Both initial home loans and later home equity loans are covered. Insurance includes home, automotive, life, and business. Alaska USA also provides investment management services. Managed accounts at a minimum $100,000 investment can put capital in trust with this not-for-profit group, while custodial accounts help set up trust funds for minors. Retirement is also provided through managed IRAs in a diversified portfolio.

Alaska USA enjoys a solid reputation for customer service as well as steady growth. They provide excellent service in the Anchorage area, with numerous ATMs across the city. They even maintain a small branch that stays open on Sundays from noon until four, a modern measure of convenience unheard of from most banking services.

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