The Credit Union Difference

Better than your Bank

What is a Credit Union? How Does it Differ From a Bank? Credit unions and banks exist to provide financial services. Their similarities end there and the differences that make credit unions unique begin to become more evident.

Credit UnionsBanks
Credit unions have members, not customers. Everyone with an account has a share of ownership in the credit union. Therefore, you are actually an owner of your credit union and not just another account number.Banks have shareholders, usually a group of investors. Banks exist to make a profit for their shareholders, not their customers.
Credit unions are democracies. They are run by a volunteer board of directors elected from the membership. Every member has a vote in how his or her credit union is operated.Banks are run by their investors, who have the sole voice in how things are done.
Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations. After expenses are paid and reserves set aside, all money surpluses are returned to the members in the form of higher dividends and lower loan interest rates. At banks, only investors see a share of the profits.
Credit unions serve only certain groups of members, like those working for a particular employer or living in the same neighborhood. This specialization allows credit unions to focus on the needs of a certain special group of people.Anyone may open an account at any bank. Customers sometimes become lost in the shuffle or "just another number."