Category Archives: Seminars and Events

Credit Unions’ History Shows Resilience of Cooperative Banking Model

CUNA_ICU_Logo_Final_WCIn honor of International Credit Union Day, NerdWallet Looks Back at the History of Credit Unions in the U.S.

Credit unions surpassed the 100 million-member mark in June, reaffirming the strength of the federally insured system throughout the years—from the Great Depression to the Great Recession and its aftermath.

Credit unions are gaining popularity among consumers who want financial benefits, fewer fees, lower loan rates and higher interest on savings accounts. In the past year alone, credit unions added 2.85 million members. This growth was the largest reported 12-month increase in more than 25 years, according to Credit Union National Association (CUNA). From the start, these not-for-profit financial co-operatives have greatly benefitted their members.

Rise of credit unions

The first U.S. credit union opened in 1909 in Manchester, New Hampshire, according to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), which regulates, charters and supervises federal credit unions. However, it was not until the Great Depression that these financial institutions were organized under federal law.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the 1934 Federal Credit Union Act at a time when Americans had very little faith in banking institutions. The law was intended to make credit available to people at all economic levels and to promote thrift. By the end of 1940, there were 3,756 federal credit unions in the U.S.


Mid- to late-20th-century changes

By 1970, Congress had created the NCUA as well as the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund to back share accounts in all federal credit unions, as well as most that hold only state charters. At first, credit union membership was open only to a well-defined community, such as residents of a specific town or county, or the employees of a particular company.

In the 1980s, membership criteria were loosened, allowing more flexibility in who could join. By then, the services credit unions could offer had been expanded to include share certificates and home mortgages. In 1985, credit unions insured by the fund received the backing of the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government.

Banks, which compete with credit unions, challenged looser membership rules, and in 1996 and 1997, the federal courts backed those challenges. But in 1998, President Bill Clinton signed the Credit Union Membership Access Act to restore membership flexibility.

The Great Recession

During the financial crisis that spawned the most recent recession, Congress took a number of steps to help banks and credit unions handle fiscal stress. One, a temporary increase in share insurance protection to $250,000 from $100,000, matching the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s backing of bank deposits, was made permanent in 2010.

Today, about a third of all Americans belong to credit unions, which hold $1.1 trillion in assets, according to NCUA figures.

How do credit unions offer better deals?

Unlike for-profit banks, credit unions are member-owned organizations operated democratically and overseen by volunteer directors. They are exempt from federal and most state taxes, a status that has drawn challenges from bank groups, who say it provides an unfair competitive advantage. Credit unions say their status is appropriate because they exist to serve members, not make a profit.

“Credit union products and services saved consumers $8.5 billion in 2013,” said Pat Keefe, CUNA’s top spokesman, in an August 2014 statement. “That benefit goes both directly to credit union members, because members—not stockholders—are owners, and to the American consumer overall because credit unions’ better pricing puts competitive heat on banks.”

Credit unions return earnings to members in the form of lower loan rates and high interest on deposits. For example, the national average credit union rate for a 36-month used car loan was about 2.7% in the second quarter compared with the almost 5.3% average bank rate. Meanwhile, a five-year share certificate with a $10,000 minimum carried an annual yield of more than 1.3% compared with the less than 1.2% average bank yield.

Depending on the individual credit union, other financial benefits may include truly free checking accounts for students, seniors and businesses; a larger network of surcharge-free automated teller machines; mobile banking apps; and interest on savings that beats that of most banks. Because credit unions are managed for the benefit of their members, they’re often able to provide more personalized service than banks can.

Credit unions have a long history of providing Americans with a stable source of loans and a secure place for savings. These institutions have proven their ability to weather even the bleakest economic climates, so there are plenty of good reasons to join one. After all, can 100 million people be wrong?

Anna Helhoski, NerdWallet

Free Financial Fitness Fair January 30, 2013 in Pembroke Pines


Mark your calendar and plan to attend BrightStar Credit Union’s Free Financial Fitness Fair, Thursday, January 30, 5:30 p.m. Get on track for a healthier financial future. Free seminars, snacks and giveaways. Location: Walter C. Young Middle School (901 NW 129th Ave, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028).  Click the image for more information.

BrightStar Credit Union was the presenting sponsor of the Broward County Public Schools Caliber Awards last week. The District recognized their outstanding employees on March 1 during a ceremony held at the Signature Grand in Davie.

For many years BrightStar has sponsored the District’s Teacher of the Year, Principal/Assistant Principal of the Year and School-Related Employee of the Year events. These annual event honor the “Best of the Best” of Broward County Public Schools.  We congratulate all the Teachers, Principals, Assistant Principals and Employees of the Year from every school and all the semifinalists for their dedication and service to the students of Broward County.

This Year’s Top Winners are:

  • Beth W. Milewski, School-Related Employee of the Year, Coral Glades High
  • Laurel Ann Bifora, Assistant Principal of the Year, Fort Lauderdale High
  • Christine Semisch, Principal of the Year, Deerfield Beach Middle
  • Jacqueline Carrero, Teacher of the Year, McNicol Middle

All winners were awarded $1,000 from BrightStar Credit Union, and all semifinalists received a gift pack with a $40 gift card.

We are very proud and grateful for our relationship with Broward’s amazing teachers, principals, staff and students over the years. We look forward to continuing our support. To read more about the winners & the finalists, visit the Broward Schools web site (click here).

Members-Only 3 Day Car Sale

Auto Loans as low as2.99% APR (for 36 months). BrightStar has teamed up with People’s Credit Union to bring you this exclusive members-only
event.  Not a member? Join Today

  • Thursday, October 20th – 9am – 4pm
  •  Friday, October 21st – 9am – 6pm
  •  Saturday, October 22nd – 9am – 4pm

Get Pre-Approved for your BrightStar Auto Loan before the sale.

  • Large Selection of New & Pre-Owned Vehicles
  •  Trade–ins Welcome
  •  Plus get a $25 discount on a BrightStar Vehicle Extended Warranty!
  •  Register at the sale to win a 50” LG Plasma TV
  •  Free Hotdogs (while they last)


Don’t miss it!  Details on our web site:


It’s our Birthday, yup BrightStar is turning 65 and we’re celebrating all year! Join us TODAY at the Margate Branch for free cupcakes. Plus, you can play our “Guess The Stars” Game and win $65. Visit to stay on top of ALL our anniversary activities. Here you can download cool desktop wallpapers, answer trivia questions for cash prizes & more!

Hope to see you there!

BrightStar Credit Union proudly supports the BRACE Scholarships

For the past twenty five years, the Broward Education Foundation, the School Board of Broward County, local universities and businesses have all joined forces to work toward the goal of providing students in Broward County Schools the opportunity to attend college. The BRACE (Broward Advisors for Continuing Education) Scholarship Fund raised over $660,000 in scholarship dollars in the past year, which was awarded to 165 students at a reception on Thursday, August 11, 2011, at Global Grille Banquet Center, Fort Lauderdale.

BrightStar Credit Union is a long-term sponsor of the program. This year the Credit Union sponsored local student Michele W., helping her fulfill her college education at the University of Central Florida. Congratulations, Michele and all of the scholarship recipients! Good Luck.

It’s Our Birthday

It’s our Birthday, yup BrightStar is turning 65 and we’re celebrating all year! Join us tomorrow at the Pembroke Pines Branch for free cupcakes. Plus, you can play our “Guess The Stars” Game and win $65. Visit  to stay on top of ALL our anniversary activities. Here you can download cool desktop wallpapers, answer trivia questions for cash prizes & more!

See you tomorrow!

Join Us at The Seminole Hard Rock!


Come join us for the 8th Annual End-of-the-Year Celebration for Broward Schools Employees at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. There will be free cocktails & appetizers (while they last), live music, prizes & more! This FREE event is provided by the Broward Education Foundation and sponsored by BrightStar Credit Union for all employees of the District as a kick off celebration for the summer.

 It’s our way of saying “thanks” to teachers and school system employees for all of your hard work during the school year. We hope you have a great summer!

 Please click here for event details. Don’t forget to stop by our tables for free goodies :)!