Credit Union Terms & Definitions



401(k) Plan
An employer-sponsored savings plan that allows participants to voluntarily set aside part of each paycheck, on a pre-tax basis, for retirement.


Abstract of Title
A summary of the successive title deeds to a piece of property.

Acceleration Clause
A provision allowing the lender to ask for full payment at once, if loan installments are not paid when due.

Accounts Payable
Records of the amounts credited to others for goods and services purchased, and the amounts paid for those purchases.

Accounts Receivable
Records of the amounts charged to others for goods and services sold, and the amounts received.

An accounting method of recognizing income in the period it is earned.

A method, no longer permissible, of advertising the interest rate on installment loans that understates the true interest rate.

A person appointed by court to manage and settle the estate of a deceased person.

Adverse Action
(1) refusal to grant credit in the amount or under terms requested or (2) termination of an account or (3) refusal to increase the amount of an existing credit line when the applicant requested it accordance with the creditor’s procedures or (4) an unfavorable change in terms that affects only some of the debtors.

A written statement made under oath before an authorized official.

Agency for International Development
A government agency that carries out assistance programs designed to help the people of less developed countries.

Allowance for Loan Losses
A contra asset account established and maintained by periodic charges to operating expenses to provide a balance for absorbing possible future loan losses in a credit union’s loan portfolio.

American Bankers Association (ABA)
A trade association serving banks and trust companies in the area of banking professions, education, government relations, communications and member relations.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
A non-profit organization engaged in the development of national standards including standards for plastic cards and financial communications networks. Credit unions may be assigned an ANSI number for electronic identification.

Provision for repayment of a loan in periodic payments over a stated period of time.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
Finance charge over a full year, expressed as a percentage reflecting all costs of the loan as required by the Truth in Lending Act. Must appear prominently in advertising.

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
The total amount of dividends that are projected for an account based on the dividend rate and the frequency of compounding for a 365 day period, or the number of days in the term of a certificate.

Annual Percentage Yield Earned (APYE)
An annualized rate that reflects the relationship between the amount of dividends (interest) earned on the member’s account during the period and the average balance in the account during the period.

One who applies for membership, employment or a loan.

Application for a Loan
A questionnaire calling for information used to determine whether a member is eligible for a loan.

An estimate of value of property.

Appraisal Fee
Charge for estimating the value of collateral being offered as security.

Appraised Value
A valuation made by an approved or licensed appraiser based on facts, assumptions and techniques that the appraiser considers appropriate.

Something of value that can be used to repay debt.

Asset Liability Management (ALM)
Effective management of a credit union’s assets to liabilities.

Capable of legally being transferred.

A person to whom a transfer is being made.

Transfer of a note or property legally from one party to another.

The maker or originator of an assignment.

Association of Credit Union League Executives (ACULE)
An association of professional executives of credit union leagues formed to assist members in professional development and to advise and make recommendations on operational and policy matters.

Audit Committee
(See Supervisory Committee)

Automated Clearing House (ACH)
A computer-based facility which settles payments and deposit transactions between member financial institutions.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
Unstaffed equipment used by a customer to obtain financial services, generally activated by a plastic card, push buttons, and a personal identification number for each user.

Automatic Funds Transfer (AFT)
A procedure which allows the transfer of savings account funds to demand deposit accounts, and essentially authorizes payment of interest on transaction accounts.


Bait Money
Specially-marked money placed in a cash drawer to be handed out to a robber in the event of a holdup.

Balance Sheet
A condensed list of assets and liabilities showing net worth or deficit on a given date.

Balloon Note
A loan in which the final payment is considerably higher than the other regular payments.

Balloon Payment
Any payment which is more than twice the amount of any other regularly scheduled equal payment.

Bank Credit Card
A credit card issued by a bank, enabling the borrower to buy goods and services or obtain a cash loan from banks honoring that card. (i.e., Visa® and MasterCard®)

Bank Secrecy Act
The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), also known as the Financial Recordkeeping and Reporting of Currency and Foreign Transactions Act of 1970, was enacted to help in the investigations of money laundering, tax evasion and other criminal activity.  The BSA is a combination of various statutes that require financial institutions to obtain and retain certain records, as well as report certain financial transactions to the federal government.

Bank Wire
A private service offered to financial institutions which speeds and facilitates the transfer of funds and the reporting of security transactions, quotations, the payment or non-payment of items, and credit information on institutions or individuals. (see also Federal Reserve Wire.)

A debtor who is judged legally insolvent and whose remaining property is administered for or distributed among creditors.

A court action declaring a person free of most debt, due to the inability of the person to pay. (See also Chapter XIII.)

A group of deposits or incoming clearings assembled for balancing purposes with a list of each item and the total dollar amount.

Batch Processing
A sequential-processing procedure that uses an accumulation or set of units. Contrast with on-line processing.

The person designated to receive the proceeds of a life or accident insurance policy or similar benefit of a transaction.

Bill Payment
A device permitting customers to pay several recurring bills (utilities, mortgage, etc.) via a single instrument, without the use of checks. (See also Telephone Bill Payment.)

Billing Cycle
Time interval-often a month-between periodic billing statement dates.

Billing Error
Mistake in a periodic statement due to a charge made by someone not authorized by the cardholder, an error in arithmetic, failure to reflect a credit, a charge for which the cardholder requests clarification or other instances defined by the Fair Credit Billing Act and Regulation Z.

Board of Directors
An organized group of persons who control or govern the affairs of an institution or association.

A legal contract by which an insurance company agrees to pay, within stated limits, for financial loss caused by the default or dishonest acts of a third party.

A financial plan serving as an estimate and control over future operations.

Business Loan
A loan made to a person for business purposes using some part of the business as collateral for the loan, such as inventory or stock.

The rules adopted by the shareholders and board of directors which define the field of membership, set the par value of shares, and give the general method by which corporate functions are to be carried on.

– C –

Call Report (5300 Report)
A required, periodic report of a credit union’s financial condition that is submitted to a credit union supervisory agency.

Capital Accumulation Plan (CAP)
A deferred compensation plan of saving for retirement; established by CUNA.

Cash Card
A plastic card that is used in: (1) automated teller equipment that dispenses cash; or (2) point-of-sale systems that involve immediate debiting of customers’ accounts and crediting (usually next day) of merchants’ accounts.

Cash Discount
Price reduction offered by merchants to customers paying in cash or by check instead of by credit card.

Cash Dispensers
(See Automated Teller Machine.)

Cash Item
Any item which a financial institution has cashed or for which the financial institution has given immediate credit and which will be paid or returned routinely through normal channels. Contrast with collection item.

Cash Letter
A batch or several batches of items with a list of each batch, the items in each batch and the grand total of that cash letter.

Cash Surrender Value
The amount available in cash upon surrender of an insurance policy before it becomes payable by maturity or occurrence of the circumstance insured against.

(See Checkless Society)

Central Credit Union
A credit union whose common bond includes other credit unions and specific groups of individuals. (See also Corporate Central Credit Union and Individual Member Central Credit Union.)

Central Liquidity Facility
A corporation with NCUA which provides federal- and state-chartered credit unions with a reliable source of funds to meet their liquidity needs.

Certificate of Deposit (CD, Time Certificate)
A money market instrument which is a marketable receipt for funds deposited in a financial institution for a specific period of time and at a specified rate of interest. Contrast with Certificate of Indebtedness.

Certificate of Indebtedness (CI)
A promissory note to repay borrowed funds on a specified date at a specified rate of interest, issued by a financial institution.

Certified Credit Union Executive (CCUE)
A professional designation earned through education and experience related to the credit union movement. Offered through CUNA.

A delegate-type subdivision of a credit union league made up of credit unions in a limited geographical area, meeting regularly to exchange ideas and discuss common issues.

Chapter 7
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, sometimes known as a straight bankruptcy or liquidation, involves a liquidation of the debtor’s assets (if any) and a payment of the proceeds to creditors.  Most of the time, there are no assets to liquidate, so a “no-asset” case exists and creditors receive nothing.  Even if there are assets, the member will usually be able to claim all of the assets as exempt under either federal or state law and creditors will be paid nothing.  Any assets, which are not exempt, will be liquidated and the proceeds will be paid to creditors.

Chapter 11
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy, sometimes known as a “reorganization”, typically involves the reorganization of a business, though an individual may also file a Chapter 11 case.  In a Chapter 11, the debtor may propose a plan that, if accepted by creditors and approved by the court, allows the debtor to reorganize its financial affairs.  Additionally, a Chapter 11 debtor may propose a liquidating plan as opposed to one that is based on the continued operations of the debtor’s business.

Chapter 13
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy, sometimes called a “wage earner’s plan”, involves the debt adjustment of individuals with regular income and involves a court-approved and supervised budget plan, which allows the debtor to pay back the secured and unsecured obligations to creditors over a period of time ranging from three to five years.  Generally, a member will file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy rather than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if he or she wants to pay all or some of the debts, where there are co-signers that need to be protected, or the income is too high to safely file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy because it might be considered an abuse.

Charge Account
Line of credit that may be used repeatedly up to a certain specified limit.

Charge Off
To treat as a loss.

A document offering personal property as security for payment of a debt.

Check Authorization
The confirmation by a financial institution to a retail outlet that a customer’s balance is adequate for a particular amount. EFTS technology attempts to make the authorization immediate and automatic, via terminals rather than telephones.

Checkless Society
A term coined in the 1960s to describe a nationwide electronic payable and bookkeeping network in which cash and checks are replaced by credit cards and computers.

Children’s Miracle Network (CMN)
The Iowa Credit Union League’s official charity. CMN has an annual telethon to raise funds for children treated at designated children’s hospitals in Iowa City, Sioux City and Omaha, Neb.

Demand for payment under an insurance contract, bond or legal judgment.

The process by which a payment order (check, share draft, etc.) moves from the initiator of the order to the final recipient.

Clearing House
An establishment maintained by financial institutions for settling mutual claims and accounts.

Closed-End Credit
A credit plan in which the creditor sets a term for repayment of a loan.

Closing Statement
An accounting of funds in a real estate sale.

Club Account
A savings plan whereby a depositor makes periodic (usually weekly) payments.

CMCI Corporation
The insurance broker affiliate of CUNA Mutual that also provides leasing services and specializes in pilot consumer programs.

Something of value pledged to assure loan repayment and subject to seizure upon default.

Collection Item
Any item which a bank has received for collection and for which settlement with the owner will be made only when the item is finally paid or returned. Contrast with Cash Item.

A person, other than the borrower, who signs a note in order to give additional protection to the creditor granting the loan, because of the uncertain credit quality of the borrower.

Common Bond
A unifying factor or characteristic among persons which simultaneously links them together and distinguishes them from the general public.

Community Development Credit Union (CDCU)
A credit union that stands alone or is affiliated with a housing or civic group, community coalition, church, or other group that predominantly serves a low-income community.

Comparison Shopping
Evaluation of a lender’s annual percentage rate (APR), which tells the borrowers the relative cost of credit, against the APRs quoted by other lenders.

Agreement between a borrower in financial difficulty and a lender, allowing the borrower to eliminate debt by paying only a portion of the total amount owed the lender.

Compound Dividend
A dividend which is computed by using as a base the amount that includes the dividend paid in the previous period.

Conditional Sales Contract
Document used in installment sales credit arrangements, which withholds ownership title from the buyer until the loan has been paid in full.

A membership organization primarily made up of independent credit union leagues located in a specific geographical area.

An association formed to promote the common interest of its members and usually made up of delegates from its member organizations,

Congress of Central Credit Unions
A congress formed to assist and promote development of individual and corporate central credit unions and their services.

Consolidation Loan
Combining several debts into one loan usually to reduce the annual percentage rate or the dollar amount of payments made each month.

Consumer Credit
An exchange transaction involving an individual (as opposed to a business), that is primarily for a personal, family, or household purpose.

Agreement between two or more parties. Certain legal formalities must be met.

Contingency Reserve
An appropriation of undivided earnings set aside for possible future contingent liabilities.

Contractual Liability
Obligation to repay all debts made in accordance with a contract.

Corporate Central Credit Union
(1) a credit union whose bond of association includes only other credit unions; (2) in a credit union financial system, a credit union whose bond of association consists of other credit unions which participate in a common data base, accounting, and communications network with the U.S. Central Credit Union; which carries out both liquidity management and electronic interchange services; and which adheres to standards updated periodically by the appropriate financial system entities.

Correspondent Credit Union
A credit union that acts as an agent and processes transactions for members of another credit union pursuant to a service agreement between the two credit unions.

Individual who signs on the loan, yet does not receive any benefit from the transaction.

A federation or a central body uniting a group of credit unions which have similar common bonds, such as the Defense Credit Union Council and the Education Credit Union Council.

An arrangement to receive cash, goods or services now and pay for them in the future.

Credit Application
The method, by either written form or verbal interview, of obtaining information about a borrower who is seeking credit.

Credit Authorization
Verification of the validity of a credit card and the balance available on the purchaser’s credit line.

Credit Bureau
An organization which gathers information about a consumer’s creditworthiness, and to which a financial institution may apply for such information about a prospective borrower.

Credit Card
An instrument or device, whether known as a credit card, credit plate, or any other name; issued (with or without a fee) by an issuer for the use of the cardholder in obtaining money, goods, services, or anything of value; and which creates a liability by the card user in favor of the issuing institution.

Credit Committee
The group of credit union members which has the responsibility to approve or disapprove all requests from members for loans as received by the credit union.

Credit History
A continuing record of a borrower’s debt commitments and debt payments.

Credit Insurance
Insurance issued on accounts receivable and payable if the account receivable proves uncollectible.

Credit Investigation
An inquiry undertaken by a lender to verify information supplied by a borrower on a credit application.

Credit Life Insurance
Insurance issued on the lives of borrowers to cover payment of loans in case of death.

Credit Line
(See Line of Credit.)

Credit Rating
The estimate of the amount that can be extended to a borrower without undue risk based on the borrower’s past credit experience.

Credit Risk
The possibility of loss to a lender resulting from nonpayment by a borrower.

Credit Scoring System
A quantitative, statistical evaluation method used to establish a credit applicant’s creditworthiness.

Credit Union
A voluntary, not-for-profit cooperative organized by a group of people having a common bond, and democratically administered to encourage thrift among its members, create a source of credit at low rate, and provide maximum service at minimum cost.

Credit Union Benefits Services, Inc. (CUBS)
A non-stock, non-profit corporation that develops and implements retirement programs exclusively for employees of the credit union movement. (See also CRSF and CRPP.)

Credit Union Center
Headquarters for national and international organizations, serving credit unions, located in Madison, Wisconsin.

Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE)
A designation bestowed on people completing training for a program that communicates and promotes the unique role of credit unions in cooperative development and assists in obtaining support for credit union programs worldwide.

Credit Union Executives Society (CUES)
An international membership organization of professional credit union managers and other management level employees, which promotes the acceptance and understanding of credit union management as a profession.

Credit Union Financial System
A coordinated and interrelated set of credit unions and credit controlled institutions and their data processors, operating with distinct but mutually reinforcing goals and objectives to provide maximum opportunity for credit unions to provide financial services for their members; and to maintain and enhance the competitive position of credit unions as financial service organizations.

Credit Union Foundation
The American credit union movement’s primary charitable and fund-raising organization for worldwide credit union development.

Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC)
A political action committee of the credit union movement which raises money and assists in selecting, electing and reelecting legislators who support the goals of credit unions.

Credit Union National Association, Inc. (CUNA)
A national, non-profit, dues-supported confederation serving credit union leagues in the United States.

Credit Union Political Action Committee (CUPAC)
The political fund-raising arm of Iowa credit unions, administered by seven trustees.

Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO)
A credit union subsidiary authorized to perform related functions such as those typically performed by an insurance or escrow agency, as well as data processing and conveyancing.

Credit Union Video Network (CUVN)
A news and operational series of videotapes, offered through CUNA, which can be purchased by credit unions or chapters.

Credit Verification
An inquiry process used by merchants to ensure that a purchaser’s demand account balance is sufficient to cover a sale or ensure the purchaser’s name or credit card number does not appear on a hot card list.

A person or a business who, in the ordinary course of business, regularly extends or arranges for the extension of consumer credit or lends money.

An evaluation of a consumer’s ability and willingness to repay a debt.

Cross Intermediation
The act of moving savings from one financial institution to another.

CUDIS Insurance Society, Inc.
A subsidiary of CUNA Mutual which specializes in credit disability insurance protection.

CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc.
CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc., formed in 1960, offers property, casualty and fidelity insurance to credit unions.

CUMIS Life Insurance Company
CUMIS Life Insurance Company offers a full range of creditor group, individual life and disability insurance coverages to financial co-operatives and their members.  Incorporated in Canada in January 1977, CUMIS Life continues the traditions set by the CUNA Mutual insurance Society which was established in 1935 and wrote the first Canadian loan protection contract in 1937.

CUNA Mutual Insurance Group (CMIG)
A term to collectively identify these six insurance organizations – CUNA Mutual Insurance Society, CUMIS Life Insurance Company, CUNA Mutual Investment Corporation, CUMIS Insurance Society, CUDIS Insurance Society, and CMCI Corporation.

CUNA Mutual Insurance Society
CUNA Mutual Insurance Society is the parent company of the CUNA Mutual Group, which is actually an umbrella term for 47 companies.

The CUNA Mutual Group is the leading provider of financial services to credit unions and their members worldwide, offering insurance, investment and technological solutions through strategic relationships and modern service channels.  The major companies comprising the CUNA Mutual Group include, CUNA Mutual Life Insurance Company, CUNA Mutual Mortgage Corporate, CUNA Mutual Business Services, Stewart Associates, CUNA Mutual General Agency, and MEMBERS Capital Advisors.  The CUNA Mutual Group also has majority ownership in the CUMIS Group in Ontario, Canada.

CUNA Mutual Investment Corporation
CUNA Mutual Investment Corporate, formed in 1972 and reorganized in 1976, is a wholly owned subsidiary of CUNA Mutual Insurance Society.  It is a holding company and owns all of the stock in CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc., MEMBERS Life Insurance Company, CUNA Mutual Insurance Agency, Inc., CUNA Mutual General Agency of Texas, Inc., International Commons, Incorporated, CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., Stewart Associates incorporated, CUNA Mutual Mortgage Corporation, and CUNA Mutual Business Services, Inc.  It owns 50 percent or less of the stock in CMG Mortgage Assurance Company, CMG Mortgage Insurance Company, CMG Mortgage Reinsurance Company, MEMBERS Capital Advisors, Inc., MEMBERS Development Company LLC, Credit Union Service Corporation, and HRValue Group, LLC.  CUNA Mutual Investment Corporation also acts as owner for real estate and other types of property held for investment.

CUNA Retirement Pension Plan (CRPP)
A benefit plan designed to provide a monthly income to retired credit union employees, based on each individual’s compensation and length of service. Death and disability benefits are also provided.

CUNA Retirement Savings Fund (CRSF)
An employer/employee contribution-thrift type pension plan that provides retirement and other benefits to credit union employees.

CUNA Service Group, Inc. (CSG)
A holding company created to generate capital and to determine and coordinate overall policy for its subsidiary service organizations – ICU Service Corporation, CUNA Supply Corporation, CUNADATA Corporation, and Data Switch Corporation.

CUNA Supply Corporation
A national service organization which provides credit unions with operational, and educational-related products.

Current Asset
An asset which may be converted into cash on short notice, such as stocks and bonds and savings deposits in a bank.

Customer-Bank Communication Terminal (CBCT)
A term for off-premise automated teller machines used by national banks.

– D –

Data Communications
High speed communications between computers involving terminal devices and special interfacing equipment.

Data Switch Corporation
An organization providing electronic data communications for the credit union movement.

Debit Card
A plastic card issued by financial institutions which, upon use, immediately debits the customer’s deposit account. Because no billing process is involved, it tends to reduce float. Contrast with credit card.

Debt Collector
Anyone, other than a creditor or the creditor’s attorney, who regularly collects debts for others.

One who owes something to another person, an organization or an institution.

Declining Balance
The decreasing amount owed on a debt as monthly payments are made.


Failure to perform that which is required by the terms of a credit agreement.

To delay payment to a future time.

Charge made to defer payment.

Deficiency Judgment
A legal claim against a debtor for the balance of debt remaining after repossession and sale of the collateral, plus allowable expenses.

The amount by which total losses exceed total income.

A credit account which is past due and for which no satisfactory repayment arrangement has been made.

Demand Deposit
Deposits payable on demand, drawn against by payment mechanism with no prior notice of withdrawal needed.

Depository Institutions Deregulation Committee (DIDC)
A federal regulatory body created after the Monetary Control Act of 1980 for purposes of deregulating financial institutions.

Descriptive Billing
A billing system in which an account statement is not accompanied by copies of original invoices. Instead, the statement contains sufficient detail to permit the customer to identify the nature, date, and amount of each transaction processed during the statement period.

Descriptive Statement
A printout describing all payment transactions for a certain period of time.

Direct Payroll Deposit
Movement of net-pay funds (usually electronically) from the account of the employer to an account of an employee at a designated institution. When used in conjunction with an Automated Clearing House the net pay can be credited to any account in any participating financial institution electronically.

Disability Insurance
Coverage which generally provides non-occupational benefits to a worker for accident or sickness not covered by the Worker’s Compensation laws.

Disability, Permanent-Partial
A condition resulting from sickness or accident which causes a permanent partial loss of earning power.

Disability, Permanent-Total
A condition resulting from sickness or accident which causes a complete and permanent loss of earning power.

Disability, Temporary-Partial
A condition resulting from sickness or accident which causes a partial loss of earning power but from which recovery can be expected.

Discharge of Lien
Recorded release of a lien when debt has been repaid.

Disclaimer Statement
An agreement in which one party relinquishes any interest in another’s party.

Disclosure Statement
An itemized list of all charges giving total cost of credit.

Discount Charge
Finance charge deducted in advance.

Discretionary Income
What remains of disposable income, after essential living costs are paid.

The consumer’s tendency to acquire financial assets in any other form than savings deposits, more typically to purchase government or corporate bonds or corporate shares as opposed to savings deposits.

Disposable Income
Take-home pay or net pay.

A share of earnings distributed to shareholders of a credit union.

Dormant Account
A savings account in which there has been no member activity for a specified period of time.

Down Payment
A cash sum required at the outset of a credit transaction, which together with the outstanding loan balance comprises the total cost.

Due Date
A day of the month by which payment must be made.

Durable Goods
Commodities which serve consumers over an extended period of time, such as cars.

– E –

Earnest Money
An amount of money given to bind a contract used in conjunction with a real estate loan.

An electronic cash register.

Elderly Applicant
A person aged 62 or more, as defined in the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

Electronic Data Processing (EDP)
The overall science of converting data by electronic means into any desired form.

Electronic Data System Corporation (EDS)
A supplier of data processing products and services to the financial industry.

Electronic Funds Transfer System (EFTS)
Payment methods in which the processing and communications necessary to effect economic exchange, and the processing and communications necessary for the production and distribution of service incidental or related to economic exchange, are dependent wholly or in large part on the use of electronics. Sometimes abbreviated EFT.

Empirical Credit System
Credit scoring system, based on creditor’s experience with borrowers, allotting certain points to attributes describing the applicant.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)
A pension reform law which authorized IRA accounts and expanded the concept of Keogh accounts.

To write one’s signature on the back of a payment mechanism as evidence of legal transfer of ownership.

Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA)
A federal law which prohibits discrimination against an applicant for credit on the basis of age, sex, marital status, race, color, religion, national origin and other factors.

The amount of money property is worth above and beyond the amount owed on it.

Escalator Clause
A provision in the note permitting the creditor to change the interest rate on the loan after notification to the debtor.

The reversion of property, such as the property of a decedent, with no heirs and unclaimed or abandoned property, to the state.

Funds to be paid by a second party to a third party for expenses on property held by the first party; for example, funds held by a financial institution-often collected together with monthly mortgage payments-to meet tax bills and insurance premiums.

The periodic examining of books and records by the credit union regulatory agency.

Examination Fee
The cost of periodic examination of books and records of a credit union by a regulatory agency.

Person(s) appointed by a testator to execute his or her will.

Exempt Security
That property which cannot be used as security for a loan.

Expiration Date
The date a contract terminates.

Agreement with the lender to allow the borrower, who may be having financial difficulties, to make smaller payments on an outstanding debt over a longer period of time.

– F –

Facsimile Transmission (FAX)
An electronic means of transferring an image (precise reproduction) from one place to another.

Fair Credit Billing Act
An amendment to Regulation Z designed to help credit card holders and other users of open-end credit protect themselves against billing error abuses.

Fair Credit Reporting Act
A federal law designed to insure fair and accurate reporting of information regarding consumers.

Fair Value
As used in this guide, the amount that a debtor could reasonably expect to receive for assets in a current sale between a willing buyer and a willing seller, that is, other than in a forced or liquidation sale.

Family Involvement Board (FIB)
An organization of representatives from the 14 Iowa chapters who work to promote credit union marketing to the full family.

Finance Charge

Fed Funds
The purchase and sale of excess reserves between financial institutions.

Fed Wire
(See Federal Reserve Wire Network.)

Federal Credit Union
A credit union which is chartered, examined and supervised by the federal government through the NCUA.

Federal Credit Union Act
A federal law enacted in June, 1934, which allowed the organization of federal credit unions and established methods for their chartering, supervision and examination.

Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC)
A council of representatives from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the National Credit Union Administration that prescribes uniform principles and standards for the federal examination of financial institutions and makes recommendations to promote uniformity in the supervision of the financial institutions.

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC or Freddie Mac)
A corporation that provides a secondary market in conventional residential mortgages. It sells mortgages and mortgage participation certificates (PCs) representing undivided interests in a group of mortgages.

Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA or Fannie Mae)
A corporation that provides a secondary market for residential housing mortgages.

Federal Reserve Board (FRB)
A seven member board appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate responsible for supervising, coordinating and formulating monetary policy. The FRB has regulatory power over member banks and non-member financial institutions.

Federal Reserve System
The central banking system of the United States created by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. The system includes national and state member banks and 12 Federal Reserve Banks and their branches.

Federal Reserve Wire Network
A communications network, operated by the Federal Reserve System, that electronically transfers funds and communicates securities transfers, economic statistics, and general administrative information.

Fidelity Bond
Insurance against losses arising from errors and dishonest acts of employees and involving money, merchandise or other property. Persons or positions may be covered by fidelity bonds.

Field of Membership (FOM)
The group of people that qualifies as members of a credit union. A credit union’s field of membership is limited by law to those who have a common bond, such as a place of employment, community or association.

Finance Charge
The total amount of interest that will be paid on a loan when the loan is repaid according to schedule.

Financial Statement
A written report giving facts on the income and expenses of an association for a specific period of time.

Fixed Asset
A long-lived economic resource acquired to benefit future activities.

Any attachment to a building which is considered legally a part of it.

Funds credited to one account, but because of the time involved in the clearing process, have not been deducted from the account that was written against.

Floor Limit
The maximum amount of credit available to a customer for a purchase without the need for credit authorization. (See also Zero Floor Limit.)

Funds Concentration
An aggregate of funds (usually deposits) from local and/or regional accounts that are automatically wire-transferred to a central account.

Funds Transfer
Data which change the monetary assets of an individual or business.

– G –

GAP Insurance
MEMBERS CHOICE™ Guaranteed Asset Protection covers the difference between the insurance settlement and a loan balance (for those items directly related to the purchase of the vehicle)on a vehicle that is stolen, accidentally damaged beyond repair, or otherwise declared an insurance loss.

Court-sanctioned procedure by which a portion of a debtor’s wages is set aside to repay creditors.

Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA or Ginnie Mae)
A corporation wholly owned by the federal government that purchases, services, and sells mortgages insured or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). It also performs other secondary market functions to support the home mortgage market.

Grace Period
A period of time after a due date when payment is not subject to late charges.

Gross Income
Total Earnings prior to deductions for taxes, health insurance, employee benefit plans, etc.

A person or organization who promises to answer for the debt or default of another.

– H –

Health Savings Accounts
CUNA Mutual Group has an administrative support program to assist credit unions in offering health savings accounts (HSAs) to their members.

An HAS is a relatively new, but increasingly popular U.S. government-sponsored individual investment account that people can establish to make tax-deductible contributions, earn tax-free interest on contributions and withdraw money tax-free for qualified medical expenses.

Holder in Due Course
Someone acquiring in good faith a purchaser’s note.

Home Equity Loan
A first or second mortgage loan that allows the borrower to use the portion of equity in his or her residence to increase borrowing capacity.

Hot Card List
A list of delinquent accounts or stolen cards.


– I –

(See ITS/Shazam)

In-House Computer
A computer system that allows the user to complete all of its own processing and

Iowa Consumer Credit Code (ICCC, I-Triple C)
A 1974 Iowa law dealing with all facets of lending and collection practices of credit unions and other financial institutions. Usually referred to as the I-Triple C.

Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL)
The trade association providing education, communications, public relations, research, conferences, training and lobbying for its member credit unions.

Iowa Credit Union League Transfer System. An organization formed to provide access for credit unions to the Shazam network.

Individual Member Central Credit Union
A credit union which provides credit union services to individuals with the goal of providing total financial services to these individuals. The unique aspects of individual centrals pertain not to the services they provide but to the common bonds which they serve, including officers of other credit unions, members of liquidating credit unions, and select employee groups.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
A tax-sheltered savings plan open to individuals not covered by a qualified private pension or profit-sharing plan, or by a public employee retirement plan.

The inability of a person to repay all current obligations due at any given time.

Installment Cash Credit
A loan involving two parties: the borrower and the lender. The debt is repaid in equal installments over a specified period of time. Contrast with Installment Sales Credit.

Installment Sales Credit
A loan used to buy major items, such as cars or appliances. A down payment is usually required and a contract is signed for the balance due, plus interest and service charges. The debt is repaid in equal installments over a specified period of time. Generally involves three parties: the buyer, the seller and the lender. Contrast with Installment Cash Credit.

A legal document, contract, note or written agreement.

A concept for a national network of EFT participants that would allow customers the use of EFT services outside their geographical areas.

The charge for a financial loan, usually a percentage of the amount loaned.

Interest Rebate
(See Rebate.)

The point at which independent systems (e.g. data processors) meet and act on or communicate with each other.

A conglomeration of thousands of computer networks using a common set of technical protocols to create a worldwide communications medium.

Among or between several states. A credit union having members in several states may be subject to some federal laws rather than the pertaining state laws.

Not having a valid will when a person dies.

Within the state. A credit union having members from within its state only; may be exempt from certain federal laws.

Anything acquired for the purpose of producing income or a profit, or in credit unions, surplus cash deposited in other organizations to draw interest or dividends.

Iowa Bankers Association (IBA)
The education and service organization of Iowa banks. Headquartered in Des Moines.

Iowa Corporate Central Credit Union (ICCCU)
The “credit union for Iowa credit unions,” serving their savings and borrowing needs and such financial services as wire transfer, corporate share drafts, cash management and correspondent services.

Iowa Credit Union Division
The regulatory body for state-chartered credit unions in Des Moines.

Iowa Credit Union Foundation
A non-profit organization designated to serve and promote credit union ideals throughout Iowa. It also is an educational and charitable organization dedicated to assisting credit unions and their members.

The organization of Iowa banks, savings & loans and credit unions that facilitates the development of direct deposit and pre-authorized payment services in the state and operates and controls the statewide shared automated teller machine network.  Regional payment associations provide management, education, assistance, and services to link all types of financial institutions (commercial banks, saving banks, and credit unions) across the United States.

– J –

Joint Account
A credit arrangement for two or more people, enabling all to use an account and assume liability to repay.

Joint Tenancy
A legal term meaning that two or more people own an asset together and yet have equal individual rights to it.

A court approved legal document allowing repossession of collateral or collection of deficiencies.

Judgmental System
A non-statistical measure of evaluating credit worthiness.

Julian Date
Using the Julian calendar which has 365 days, the total number of days which have passed within a year on a given date. Example: January has 31 days and February has 28, so the Julian date for February 28 would be 59. Julian dates are used in computing interest and delinquency on loans.

– K –

Keogh Account
A tax-sheltered savings plan for self-employed individuals. Also called Self-Employed Individuals Tax Retirement Act.

– L –

Land Contract
Installment contract drawn between buyer and seller for the sale of property. Occasionally used as a substitute for a mortgage, except ownership of property doesn’t pass until payment of the last installment.

Late Charge
A percentage of the payment due which is charged for being late or paying after a predetermined grace period.

Late Payment
A payment on which an additional charge may be imposed, since it was made after the due date.

A membership group of credit unions in a given area formed to promote and develop the credit union movement in that area.

Leasehold Agreement
An agreement entered into by the credit union for office facilities that are rented or occupied usually on sponsoring company premises.

One who rents real or personal property from a lessor for a fee, called rent.

One who owns real or personal property which is leased.

Letter of Understanding and Agreement (LUA)
A negotiated agreement between a regulatory agency or agencies and a credit union’s board of directors concerning the credit union’s problems, actions to be taken, and a timetable to complete each action.

A debt or legal responsibility to repay debt in full.

Licensed Lender
A consumer finance office authorized to operate in the state in which it is located.

A claim which one person has upon property of another person, as security for debt.

Lien Placement Fee
Cost of recording with the Secretary of State the security interest of a financial institution on the title of any new or used car.

Last-in, first-out method of computing earnings on savings accounts whereby earnings are computed on the balance of the savings account at the beginning of the period, plus additions received, minus withdrawals from the latest previous receipt.

Line of Credit
The dollar amount a lender is making available to a borrower, which may or may not be borrowed.

In credit union terms, that portion of total assets not held in fixed assets nor loaned to members. These are the funds for which the credit union must make investment decisions.

Liquidity Reserves
Reserves held by an institution to guarantee the availability of funds to meet expected claims against it as members’ drafts are presented for payment.

Loan Fee
The amount charged by the mortgagee for granting a loan, often referred to as points, acquisition credits, or initial service charge. Loan fees are generally stated as a percent of the face amount of the loan. The charge is generally made to cover the cost of placing the loan on the books, but also may represent, in part, an adjustment of yield.

Loan Officer
A credit union official who acts on member loan applications within the limits of the credit union’s lending policies.

Loan Participation
A purchased interest in a loan originated by another lender. Loan participations may be negotiated on a recourse or a non-resource basis on terms the same as or different from the original loan terms.

Loan Protection Insurance
Insurance which pays the balance of an insured member’s loan upon the death of the borrower.

Loss Payable Clause
A clause in an insurance contract which provides for payment of a loss, for which the insurer is liable to the insured, to someone other than the insured.

Low-Income Credit Union
A credit union whose membership falls into a predetermined low-income bracket.

– M –

(See MPX)

Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR)
An electronic reading of machine-readable characters (printed with magnetic ink), usually those that appear at the bottom of checks or drafts. Used to route the check or draft to the proper financial institution and account.

Magnetic Stripe
An electronically encoded magnetic field placed on the surface of a plastic card for the purpose of enabling a machine to identify the issuing institution and the account holder.

Management Enrichment Training (MERIT)
A national certification program designed to develop participants’ management and supervisory skills.

Management by Objectives (MBO)
A management theory which involves subordinates in mental and emotional involvement in their work by allowing them to set their own goals and objectives and appraise and evaluate their own progress.

(See Bank Credit Card)

Maturity Date
Date on which final payment is due.

McFadden Act
Federal legislation enacted in 1927 that authorized national banks to have branches, but only where state law expressly authorized the establishment and operation of branches by state-chartered banks.

Mechanical Breakdown
MEMBER’S CHOICE® Mechanical Repair Coverage (insured by Virginia Surety Company, Inc.) is flexible protection from unexpected vehicle repairs after the manufacturer’s warranty expires.

A person holding at least one credit union share who has the opportunity to receive the credit union financial and related services, and has a right to one vote at the annual meeting.

Member/Customer Identification Program (CIP)
The procedures for examining a credit union’s CIP include a concise summary of the basic elements required to be in the CIP, including:  information required to verify member/customer identity (through documents and nondocumentary methods); recordkeeping and document retention requirements; procedures to determine whether a member/customer appears on any federal government list of known or suspected terrorist or terrorist organizations; member/customer notice that the institution is requesting information to verify their identities; reliance on another financial institution to perform some or all of the CIP elements; and use of third parties.

Minimum Balance Account
An account which requires the holder to maintain a specified balance in the account for at least an entire dividend period.

A person who has not reached the age at which the law recognizes a capacity to make contracts.

Money Market Certificate. (See Certificate of Deposit.)

Monetary Reserves
Reserves required by the Federal Reserve to be held against various types of deposit accounts as a tool of monetary policy.

Money Market Deposit Account (MMDA)
A savings instrument offered by financial institutions which carries early withdrawal penalties. No minimum deposit is required.

A legal instrument by which a borrower gives a creditor a lien on property as security for a loan; the lien created by the instrument.

Mortgage-Backed Securities
Securities, including bonds collateralized by mortgage loans issued by the FNMA and FHLMC, and pass-through certificates.

Mortgage Loan Commitment
Written statement by lender to grant a specific loan amount, at a given rate, for a certain term, secured by a specified property, if the real property transaction is closed before the expiration date.

Mortgage Note
The legal contract in which the borrower agrees to repay a loan secured by a real estate mortgage, and stipulates the conditions of repayment.

A person to whom property is mortgaged.

A person who mortgages property.

The Mid-American Payment Exchange in Kansas City.

– N –

National Automated Clearing House Association.  NACHA oversees America’s largest electronic payments network.  NACHA’s primary roles are to develop and maintain the NACHA Operating Rules, to promote growth in ACH volume, and to provide educational services to its members and other ACH participants.

National Association for Retired Credit Union People (NARCUP)
An organization to help senior and retired credit union members obtain needed financial services, and to help extend the benefits of credit union membership to retirees.

National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU)
A voluntary, dues-supported association of federal credit unions which provides legislative and educational services to its members.

National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS)
A voluntary organization of state credit union supervisors which provides educational and informational services to its members.

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
An independent agency of the federal government responsible for chartering, insuring, supervising and examining federal credit unions, and for administering the Central Liquidity Facility and the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

National Credit Union Management Association (NCUMA)
An organization of managers of large credit unions, created for educational purposes.

National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF)
A fund to insure members’ accounts in all federal credit unions and in those state credit unions that desire to apply.

National Credit Union Youth Program
A program designed to help credit unions attract and serve young members.

National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (NFCDCU)
A non-profit association that channels outside investment capital to community development credit unions (CDCU), technical assistance, and helps with the formation of new CDCUs.

Negative File
An authorization system file which contains a simple list of accounts for which credit, check cashing, etc., should be denied.

Negative Verification
An auditing procedure for confirming an account’s balance. The account holder is sent a statement and notifies the auditor only if the balance is incorrect. Contrast with Positive Verification.

Capable of being legally transferred from one person to another.

Negotiable Order of Withdrawal (NOW)
A negotiable draft or order used to withdraw funds from a time deposit account. Like savings accounts, NOW accounts earn interest; however in actual operation they function as checking accounts.

Net Income
The balance remaining during a given period after all operating expenses have been deducted from total income.

Net Loss
The deficit remaining when operating expenses exceed total income for a given period.

Net Worth
Difference between total assets and total liabilities.

Not capable of being legally transferred from one person to another.

A written document which is a recognized legal evidence of debt, promising payment of a specified sum of money on a certain date.

Notice Account
An account which requires the holder to give written notice of the intent to withdraw.

– O –

A debt.

A data processing term for operations that do not have direct access to the computer.

Data processing term for operations that have direct access to a computer giving the user direct and immediate access to the computer system via terminal devices.

Open Account Credit
Credit arrangement whereby customers may purchase goods at any time, up to a certain limit and payment may be made for all purchases within 30 days with no interest charge applied, or in stated monthly payments, based on the current account balance plus interest.

Open End Credit
A credit plan under which a creditor allows an applicant to make purchases or obtain loans up to a pre-approved limit without negotiating a new contract each time.

Open End Lease
Lease which may involve an additional payment based on the value of property when returned.


A line of credit permitting a person to write drafts/checks for more than the account balance, with interest charged on the amount borrowed.

– P –

A book issued to members which serves as a current statement of account showing all transactions the member makes.

Passbook Savings Account
A savings account where funds can be added or withdrawn at any time.

Payday Loan
A single payment signature loan made by a member until the member’s next payday.

Total sum of money borrowed, plus all finance charges, divided by the number of months in the term of the loan. (See also Scheduled Payment.)

Payment on Death Account (POD)
An account payable to the holder during his or her lifetime and to one or more beneficiaries upon the holder’s death.

Payment Mechanism
A devise, instrument, or system that transfers money (such as cash, checks, credit cards, share drafts, traveler’s checks, etc.).

Payment System
Term used to denote the many ways in which individuals and groups transfer value between and among themselves, including the exchange of cash and clearing and settlement of accounts.

Payroll Deduction
An agreement entered into between employer and employee which allows the employer to deduct a given amount from the employee’s salary to be transferred to the credit union or other organization.

Payroll Deposit
A system that enables firms to pay their employees, without writing payroll checks, by direct deposit of funds to the employee’s account.

Pay by Phone. (See Telephone Bill Payment.)

People-to-People Program
A program to expand the awareness within the American credit union movement of the importance of international credit union development and to mobilize human and financial resources to carry out that development. Administered by the World Council of Credit Unions and funded by the Credit Union Foundation.

Per Annum
Each year or for a year.

Personal Identification Number (PIN)
A unique number assigned to each customer for using EFT devices.

Personal Loan
A loan which is secured by anything other than a first mortgage on real estate property.

Planning Session
A process involving credit union volunteers and key management staff in which vision and mission statements and specific steps to attaining future credit union goals are determined.

To transfer personal property to a creditor as security for a debt.

Point-of-Purchase (POP) Credit
A pre-arranged loan activated at the time of purchase by use of a plastic card or negotiable instrument.

Point-of-Sale (POS)
Systems designed to accomplish EFT functions for retail establishments. POS systems enable the merchant to do any or all of the following functions through on-site terminals: (1) Credit authorization, which includes insuring a card’s validity and the adequacy of a customer’s credit for a particular purchase; (2) debit authorization, which is ascertaining that a customer’s account contains sufficient uncommitted funds to cover a purchase; (3) electronic debiting of a customer’s credit account and crediting of the merchant’s account; (4) electronic transfer of funds from the customer’s account to the merchant’s account.

A loan discount, which is a one-time charge, used to adjust the yield on the loan to what market conditions demand. Each point equals one percent of the principal amount.

Political Action Committee (PAC)
An organization authorized by law to solicit funds and make contributions to candidates for government offices.

Political Education Fund
A fund comprised of credit union investments used for training and travel costs associated with the Principal Key Contact System.

A list, distribution, or grouping of the income-earning securities, loans or accounts of a financial institution.

Positive Verification
An auditing procedure for confirming an account balance. The account holder is sent a statement and notifies the auditor stating whether the balance is correct. Contrast with Negative Verification.

(1) Something offered free or at a reduced price as an incentive to save; (2) an amount paid, often in addition to interest, to obtain a loan; (3) the amount paid or payable, often in installments, for an insurance policy.

An accounting method where costs affecting subsequent accounting periods, if the amount is material, should be recorded as a prepaid expense and amortized over the accounting periods to which applicable.

The actual amount of a loan before finance charges and other charges are added or deducted.

Principal Key Contacts
Seven credit union officials assigned to serve as primary resources for Iowa’s congressional delegation on credit union issues.

Promissory Note
A note issued in evidence of an agreement with a lender. In essence, it constitutes a loan to the institution. Interest is paid on a promissory note, which is also referred to as a certificate of indebtedness. (See also Note.)

To divide proportionately or to settle affairs on the basis of proportional distribution.

Punitive Damages
Court award above the actual damage as punishment for violating the law.

Purchase Money Transaction
A loan which is made to an individual for the purchase of an item using the item as security.

– Q –

Questions & Answers
An Iowa Credit Union League publication that answers various regulatory questions posed by credit union personnel.

The number of persons, members represented, or directors who may legally transact business of a meeting called for that purpose.

– R –

Real Time
Computer systems in which processing results are produced immediately, as needed.

Portion of unearned interest returned to borrower if loan is repaid before the date designed for full payment.

Recording Fee
Cost of recording necessary documents with the appropriate state or county administrative office.

Revising the terms of a loan contract.

A portion of a finance charge returned to the borrower for paying a loan in full before maturity.

Regional Check Processing Center (RCPC)
Processing centers whose operation is like the check processing and collection system maintained at each Federal Reserve Bank and branches, but intended to serve a smaller group of banks within a geographic area.

Regular Reserve
An appropriation of undivided earnings established in accordance with the Federal Credit Union Act and/or the NCUA Rules and Regulations or state statutes to provide for the financial stability of the credit union.

Regulation B
A Federal Reserve regulation which governs equal credit opportunity.

Regulation C
A Federal Reserve regulation that is intended to provide the public with mortgage loan data.

Regulation CC
A federal regulation requiring financial institutions to follow funds availability requirements.

Regulation D
A Federal Reserve regulation which requires reserving on transaction accounts by financial institutions.

Regulation E
A Federal Reserve regulation which governs electronic funds transfers.

Regulation J
A Federal Reserve regulation which governs check collection and funds transfer.

Regulation M
A Federal Reserve regulation which governs leasing.

Regulation Z
A Federal Reserve regulation that is intended to promote informed use of consumer credit by requiring creditors to follow disclosure rules.

Shifting of consumer held financial assets from bonds or stocks back to savings deposits.

Remote Service Unit (RSU)
An off-premise ATM used by the savings and loan industry.

The legal recovery of goods pledged by a debtor.

Replevin Expense
The expenses incurred by the taking and keeping of repossessed security.

Act of reclaiming durable goods purchased on credit, for which payment is past due.

Repurchase Agreement (Repo)
An agreement under which a credit union purchases securities and the seller agrees to repurchase them within a specified time at a specified price.

Cancellation of a contract.

Research Briefing
An Iowa Credit Union League Regulatory Affairs publication that informs credit union personnel of changes in current compliance issues and introduces new legislation.

Money or assets allocated to various accounts to protect any depreciation in asset value or bad debt losses. (See also Liquidity Reserves, Monetary Reserves.)

Retained Earnings
Generally, the earnings reported in the equity section of a credit union’s statement of financial condition. Retained earnings include undivided earnings, statutory reserves, and other appropriations as designated by management or regulatory authorities.

Reverse Repurchase Agreement (Reverse Repo)
An agreement under which a credit union sells securities and agrees to repurchase them within a specified time at a specified price.

Revolving Account
Line of credit that may be used repeatedly up to a certain specified time.

Right of Rescission
The ability of an individual to cancel a contract or loan without penalty within three days after signing.

Risk Assets
Defined in various state statutes and in section 700.1(j) of the NCUA Rules and Regulations.

Roth IRA
A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that offers incentives to boost your retirement savings, as well as ways to use your nest egg.  Roth IRAs are different from traditional IRAs in that contributions are never tax-deductible.  However, the money in a Roth IRA, including earnings, can be withdrawn tax-free, as long as the IRA owner conforms to certain plan provisions.

Routing and Transit Number
A device to facilitate the handling and routing of transit items through banks. The number appears in the MICR band (the left most eight digits) and as a fraction in the Rule of 78s
A method of computing a borrower’s interest refund due if an equal installment loan is prepaid.


Sales Finance Company
Lenders specializing in installment credit used to purchase durable items.

Schedule Payment
Payment due at specified time, such as installment payments in a credit agreement.

Second Mortgage
A mortgage on real estate which already has a first mortgage.

Secondary Mortgage Market
A market where both single-family and multi-family conventional loans may be purchased or sold over the counter by financial institutions as well as where prior commitments for mortgage loans may be obtained.

Secure Card Property
A technique employed to render a plastic card counterfeit or duplication-proof.

Secured Note
A note containing a provision that, upon default, certain pledged property may be claimed by the lender as payment of a debt.

Something of value pledged to assure loan repayment and subject to seizure upon default.

Security Interest
An interest which a lender has in the borrower’s property to assure repayment.

Self-Employed Individuals Tax Retirement Account
(See Keogh Account.)

Service Charge
Finance cost related to certain conditions of a credit contract, such as the fee when over drafting is activated.

Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
A federal law which protects members of the armed services by providing relief on credit transactions.

The striking of a balance between two or more parties having mutual dealings with one another and the payment of the debt balance by the debtor to the creditor.

A given amount of money a person deposits with a credit union to become a member which confers ownership rights, has a stated par value and pays dividends.

Share Account
An account which does not require the holder to maintain a minimum balance greater than the par value of a share or to give notice of intent to withdraw.

Share Certificate Account
An account that will earn dividends at a particular rate if held to maturity, and on which a penalty shall be assessed for the withdrawal of all or any portion of the principal amount prior to maturity.

Share Draft
A truncated payment mechanism which enables credit union members to withdraw funds or pay bills from their credit union share draft account. Similar to a check.

Share Insurance
Insurance that protects a credit union member’s savings against the loss up to $100,000 on each account.

The establishment of EFT systems as a joint enterprise by a group of users, allowing the participating users to divide the responsibilities (risks, costs, etc.) of establishing and maintaining POS and ATM systems.

(See ITS/Shazam)

Signature Card
A card bearing a member’s signature that contains the contract between the member and the credit union. The card must be kept on file by the credit union for signature verification.

Simple Interest
A method of calculating interest on an outstanding balance that produces a declining finance charge with each payment of the installment loan.

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP)
An employer sponsored pension plan with tax advantages.

Single Interest Policy
An insurance which protects the interest of only one of the parties having an interest in certain property.

Single Lump Sum Credit
A closed-end credit arrangement where the total outstanding balance is due on a specified date.

Social Security Payment Program
A cooperative effort between the Social Security Administration and U.S. Treasury Department devoted to planning and implementing a system for direct deposits of Social Security benefit payments to individuals.

Split-Rate Account
An account which earns dividends at a different rate on the portion of the balance above a certain minimum requirement.

Staff Training and Recognition (STAR)
A national certification program offered by CUNA. Participants complete four separate learning tracks on member services, consumer lending, credit union accounting and advanced lending.

State Credit Union
A credit union which is chartered, examined, and supervised by a state government.

Statement of Account
A detailed listing given to an account holder periodically showing the transactions made and final balance as of a given date.

Statutory Fee
Administrative cost of closing a loan.

Statutory Reserve
An appropriation of undivided earnings that includes the regular reserve or a reserve required by state statute.

Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae)
An organization created by an act of Congress to provide a secondary market for buying, selling and servicing student loans.

The right of an insurance company to recover from a third party the amount paid under the policy.

Supervisory Committee (Audit Committee)
A credit union committee established to protect the financial welfare of the members by examining the affairs of the credit union, performing an annual audit and reporting to regulatory agencies as required.

Surety Bond
An instrument providing for monetary compensation should there be a failure to perform any specific acts within a stated period.

A facility that performs the rapid communications required in EFT system and links all of the retail terminals in a POS system to all of the financial institutions that are members of the system.


An audit technique by which data is flagged or marked during processing for later verification.

Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)
A number, usually a social security number, required by the Internal Revenue Service for taxpayer identification.

Telephone Bill Payment
A service that allows payment of bills through direct access to a financial institution by telephone.

Length of time designated for total repayment of loan.

Term Note
A loan for a set period of time that allows the member to pay the full amount at maturity.

A computer hardware device which allows the input and/or output of data to or from a computer system, allowing human interaction with a computer, generally in an on-line environment.

The Members Group
The organization owned by the Iowa Credit Union League and Iowa Corporate Central Credit Union that provides a wide variety of financial products and services to credit unions.

Third-Party Payment
Payments whereby a depository intermediary transfers a depositor’s funds to a third party upon the negotiable or nonnegotiable order of the depositor.

Time Deposit
A deposit which may not be withdrawn unless stated time or notice requirements are met.

Legal ownership.

Title Search
A check of public records to determine current ownership of a parcel of real estate.

Travel and Entertainment Credit Cards (T&E Cards)
Credit cards issued for use primarily for the purchase of meals, lodging, and transportation.

The cutting-short of the physical processing of a payment mechanism by converting information from the payment mechanism into a medium for electronic processing. The payment mechanism is not returned to the issuer. The issuer receives a descriptive statement listing items cleared during the account period.

Trust Account
A savings account established and placed under the control of one or more persons, for the benefit of another person.

Truth in Savings Act (TIS)
The federal regulation that requires financial institutions to uniformly disclose all rates, fees and other terms for deposit accounts.

Truth in Lending Act
A section of the Consumer Credit Protection Act which provides for a complete and conspicuous disclosure of credit charges in dollars and cents and as an annual percentage rate.


To assume financial responsibility for; to insure.

Undivided Earnings
The total accumulated earnings of a credit union which are available, if necessary, to pay dividends to members.

Unsecured Note
A loan granted on the basis of a borrower’s creditworthiness and signature; not secured by collateral.

U.S. Central Credit Union
A national liquidity facility designed to extend U.S. Central’s inter-lending activities beyond state boundaries.


The right of an employee who is covered by a contributory or non-contributory retirement plan to acquire the employer’s contribution to that plan.

(See Bank Credit Card)

Volunteer Achievement Program (VAP)
A national training and certification program for credit union volunteers involving learning tracks in general knowledge, credit committee and audit committee duties.

Volunteer Leadership Program (VLP)
A national training and certification program for credit union volunteers that offers modules in successful teamwork, achieving quality through process improvement, developing leadership, advanced strategic planning, business communications and diversity for credit unions.


Wage Assignment
An agreement permitting a lender to collect a certain portion of a borrower’s salary from the borrower’s employer if payment is not made as specified in the credit contract.

An interval of time within which certain forms of data must be transmitted in order that various transactions may be handled on a timely basis.

World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU)
An international organization of national and regional credit union leagues and confederations which facilitates and coordinates the development of credit unions around the world.


Zero Balance Account
A concept involving the establishment of a demand deposit account and a savings account for the same customer, with the understanding that no funds will remain idle in the demand deposit account. Deposits to the demand account are transferred into the savings account, the funds are transferred automatically by the bank from the savings account to the demand account to cover drafts written on demand account.

Zero Floor Limit
A credit limit indicating that no credit is available to a customer without credit authorization.

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