The Santee Cooper Credit Union began as a service to the employees of the South Carolina Public Service Authority, referred to as Santee Cooper, but now it has expanded its membership to include anyone that lives, works or attends school in Berkeley or Horry counties.

It’s different than a national bank chain because the SCCU is a not-for-profit financial institution, owned by its members and governed by a board of directors that are all volunteers.

Marketing Manager Michelle Jones said the SCCU stands out because of its “community feel.” Customers find a family-oriented and close knit community when they join the membership.

The SCCU offers different types of clubs that help members save for special events in their lives.

The Christmas Club helps members set aside a little money throughout the year to be used for holiday spending.

Members choose the amount to be deducted from their payroll, the funds will gain dividends until the first week of November when it is returned.

The Young Savers Club teaches children about the importance of saving. When a young saver is enrolled, SCCU will deposit five dollars to help get that child started.

Then the credit union will continue to add five dollars during the month of the child’s birthday up until their 18th birthday.

SCCU also offers financial education events for the membership and also the general public. Topics include how to financially prepare for the future or handle beneficiary changes.

There are two branch locations; one in Moncks Corner and the other in Myrtle Beach but if a member is out of town and needs cash, no problem.

The SCCU ATM access works within a co-op, so members can avoid those costly fees by using an app to locate ATMs in the network.

The SCCU recently released a service called CardValet. It’s a downloadable app which helps protect member’s debit and credit cards from theft or fraud.

Members can set up custom alerts that tell when, where and how much their SCCU cards are used. CardValet also allows members to turn the card “on” and “off.” That way, if someone misplaces their card, they can turn it “off” until it’s found.