Print this page

The Credit Union Difference

Credit Unions

Not for profit

Owned by Credit Union Members

One member, one vote

Affordable fees

Small loans available

Easy to obtain loans

No account too small

Friendly, caring

Banks

For profit

Customers

Shareholders vote their shares, Customers don't

Excessive fees

Only larger loans available

Strict loan requirements

Minimum account balance

It's all business


Credit unions’ core values and structure are very different from those of banks. As a member, you’re not just a customer; you are an owner, with a say in the future course of the credit union. Plus, credit unions’ not-for-profit status means that all earnings are returned to the members in the form of great rates and low fees. Banks, on the other hand, exist to make a profit for shareholders, so their definition of success is different, “it is bottom line driven”.

Credit unions also give members the chance to get involved. The board of directors is made up entirely of volunteers, as is the supervisory committee (which audits the credit union’s books). As a volunteer, you can be a driving force in your credit union.

What is a Federal Credit Union?

A federal credit union is a cooperative financial institution chartered by the federal government and owned by its members. Federal credit unions offer members a safe place to save and borrow at reasonable rates. Surplus income is returned to members in the form of dividends and/or additional services.

What Services Do Credit Unions Offer?

While their values and structure are different from those of banks, credit union offers just as wide a range of services.

  • Savings Accounts
  • Checking Accounts—also called “Share Draft Accounts”—often with no service fees or minimum balances
  • Mortgages and other loans with affordable rates
  • Payroll Deduction / Direct Deposit
  • Credit and debit cards
  • ATMs
  • IRAs
  • Insurance Plans
  • Financial Planning
  • CDs (called “share certificates” in credit unions)
  • Overdraft Protection
  • And more…