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CommonWealth One Frequently Asked Questions




What is a credit union?

A credit union is a not-for-profit financial institution. At CommonWealth One Federal Credit Union, we offer everything you’d expect to find at traditional bank – savings, checking, credit cards, online banking, mobile banking, etc., but because we’re member-owned and operated by our members, we offer higher yields on your deposits, lower rates on loans, and fewer and less costly fees.And yes, like banks, we’re federally insured, so your money is safe. We’re federal insured by the NCUA – the National Credit Union Administration.  It’s the bank equivalent of the FDIC.

Why join CommonWealth One?

We have been the James Madison University on-campus credit union since 1992 and offer JMU Dukes banking convenience, great rates and staff that understands you. Our JMU Branch Manager, Hector Bosch, is the proud parent of a JMU Duke. Why choose a credit union over a traditional bank? We don’t have any stockholders to pay, so we return any profits back to our members in the form of better rates, lower fees and personalized service focused on your needs. We are your on-campus financial resource with a full-service branch and four ATMs on campus.

As a CommonWealth One member, you’ll enjoy student-friendly banking:

  • Great rates on our Youth Savings Account to start growing your cash earning 2.1% APR* on the first $1,000 on deposit in your account.
  • Free checking account with no minimum balance requirements or no monthly maintenance fees complete with a free Visa debit card with access to 80,000 surcharge-free ATMs.
  • Online and mobile banking so whether you’re at the gym, in your dorm or on the go, you have access to your accounts anytime, anywhere.
  • Commitment to your financial education with free one-on-one counseling, seminars and webinars on matters of finance tailored to address the needs and ambitions of a young adult emerging out on their own.
  • Low-rate loans from student loans, personal loans, to your first credit card when you’re ready, all with rates and terms to fit your needs.
  • Excellent service where you treated with respect and understanding as someone who is just starting out and learning the ins and outs of finance.

And the best part - you can stay a member for life, so long as you maintain a $5 balance in your savings account.   

How do I join the Credit Union?

Joining the CommonWealth One is easy as opening an account! The process is the same as opening an account at any bank. You’ll need to provide information about yourself, bring identification, and make an initial deposit. You can open your account online or in-person by appointment. 

Here is a handy checklist of items you and any joint owner on your account will need to provide to open your account:

  • A valid photo I.D.
  • Your Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number
  • Your physical address (you can also provide a separate mailing address)
  • An opening deposit of $5 or more, which you can make when opening your account online with a check, credit/debit card, or electronic funds transfer from a bank.  If opening your account in-person, you make your deposit via check, cash, or credit/debit card. 

Note:  Individuals 17 or older can open an individual account; however, it is recommended that all student accounts be jointly held, at first, with a parent or guardian. If opening a joint account, the parent or joint owner will need to provide both a photo I.D. and know their SSN, in addition to signing the appropriate paperwork.

That’s it—once you’re a member, you can use all of the services at the CommonWealth One.

It's easy to bank with us.  Start enjoying the benefits of membership today by opening your account online or scheduling an appointment to speak with one of our representatives. Or, you can call Branch Manager, Hector Bosch, 1-800-424-3334-ext. 1293 if you have questions.

Where is the branch located?

Our James Madison University Branch is conveniently located next to the JMU Post Office in Madison Union. We also have a branch located within 3.5 miles of campus at 42 Terri Drive, behind Kroger Grocery Store. Besides these branches, credit union members enjoy access to more than 6,000 Shared Branches nationwide where they can conduct their CommonWealth One business for in-person transactions. There’s probably one near you.

What are the branch hours?

Our James Madison University Branch is open Monday – Thursday: 9am – 5 pm, and Friday: 9am – 5:30 pm.

Our Harrisonburg Regional Branch located at 42 Terri Drive, is open Monday – Thursday: 9:00am-5:00pm, Friday: 9:00am - 6:00pm, and Saturday: 9:00am - 1:00pm.  It also features a Drive Up Window open Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 6:00pm and Saturday 9am – 1 pm.

Please note, in an effort to comply with the social distancing recommendations made by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), we are limiting branch hours and services until further notice. Please call Branch Manager, Hector Bosch, 1-800-424-3334-ext. 1293 for more information.

Where are your ATMs?

We have four ATMs on campus – Madison Union outside our branch next to the JMU Post Office; Student Success Center to the right of the main entrance around the corner from the information desk, Festival Conference and Student Center lower level near The Cave Lounge, Godwin Bus Shelter, currently under construction.  Plus, there are more than 80,000 Allpoint® and CO-OP® ATMs nationwide that you can use surcharge-free!

What is a Student Branch Ambassador?

CommonWealth One offers employment opportunities for Dukes throughout the school year through its JMU Student Branch Ambassador Program.  JMU students can earn some extra cash and build leadership skills just by being a proud CommonWealth One member on campus. Our Student Branch Ambassadors represent CommonWealth One on campus, help host our on-campus events, and encourage other students to participate in those events. For more information, complete our interest form and someone from our marketing team will contact you to discuss ambassador opportunities in more details.

Does the Credit Union offer Student Loans?

Yes, the Credit Union offers Private Student Loans to help you pay for college to achieve your dreams. You can borrow up to $120,000 in undergraduate student loan debt or $160,000 in graduate debt, and you can use your loan for any qualified educational expense including tuition, room & board, books and even computers. We offer competitive interest rates and based on your academic history, your rates may be even lower. You can check out more FAQs about out private student loan, eligibility and rates at https://partner.lendkey.com/cofcu/student/faqs.

Do you offer credit cards to students?

Yes. We offer both secure and unsecured credit cards to students. A student credit card is a great first step in establishing credit.  Building good credit is important since you’ll need it down the road if you want to finance a car or buy a house. Your credit can affect your ability to rent an apartment and even your job prospects. With so much on the line,  we want to make sure you enter into this rite of passage with both eyes open, so we offer free one-on-one counseling and webinars on “Using Credit Wisely”. If you’re under 21, a parent or guardian may be required as a co-signer.  You can apply for a credit card along with Credit Union membership by clicking here for our Combo Application.

How can I deposit/transfer money to my Credit Union account?

You can make deposits to your account in many ways. You can make deposits in-person at a branch or you can use our mobile app to deposit your checks. You can also perform a bank-to-bank transfer within online banking, if you are transferring funds from an account you have elsewhere. This option is free within CommonWealth One’s Online Banking service. You can also deposit funds at a neighborhood Shared Branch near you. Cash deposits are available immediately, and check deposits may be held based on the dollar amount. You can also perform wire transfers.  Unlike the Bank-to-Bank transfers and Shared Branch options, there are fees for wire transfers. Many parents have found it convenient to setup direct deposit to their child’s account as well.

Have a question that's not listed above? Ask us!

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