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Glossary of terms

Making Sense of Dollars and Cents.

It's hard to make sense of the difference between APR and APY. Below is a simple guide to some common financial terms. 


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  • Deed

    A legal document that acts as a bond, contract or conveyance, especially relating to property.

  • Default

    Failure to perform a legal or contractual obligation, i.e., failure to repay due funds.

  • Deposits

    Funds deposited by members.

  • Depreciation

    An asset's loss of value over time.

  • Dividend

    Distribution of earnings to shareholders. In credit unions, it's the money paid to members on savings and related products, similar to the interest banks pay to their customers for deposits. Rates are approved by the Board of Directors.

  • Endorse

    To sign the back of a check or other bill of exchange to confirm that one had good title to it at the time of signing.

  • Equity

    The residual value of a home, business or other property beyond what is owed on it.

  • Escrow

    Relates to the purchase of property, where a neutral third party holds money or documents prior to the loan closing. It can also be an impound account held by the mortgage lender into which the homeowner pays money for taxes and insurance.

  • Fiduciary

    Anyone put in a position of trust has a duty to perform tasks loyally and in good faith, and not to permit any conflict between his duties to the principal and his own personal interests.

  • Financial Statement

    Any report summarizing a person or business' financial condition or results, usually consisting of a minimum of a balance sheet and income statement.

  • Financing

    The management of money, banking investments and credit. It is also often used to mean "loans" or "lending" as in, "Auto financing available."

  • Fixed-Rate Loans

    Loans where the interest rate is fixed for the term of the loan. For mortgages and closed-end consumer loans, the rate and monthly payment typically stay the same for the life of the loan.

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