Because credit unions are not-for-profit, member-owned financial institutions, they have a special mission to serve their community rather than investors. This means credit union members receive higher savings returns, lower loan rates, and fewer fees.
Credit unions are focused on serving a common field of membership, based around characteristics such as employer or industry, membership in an organization, or the member’s community. Every person in America is eligible to join a credit union, it’s just a matter of choosing the credit union that’s right for them .
Every credit union is owned by its members and is democratically governed by a volunteer board of directors who are also members of the credit union. This not-for-profit, cooperative structure sets credit unions apart from banks and other for-profit financial institutions, and has earned credit unions a federal tax exemption, which is an important part of helping credit unions remain focused on community support and member enrichment.
Credit unions have members, not shareholders
Banks have customers and shareholders, and must make money to please shareholders
Credit unions are democratically governed, and elections are based on a one-member, one-vote philosophy.
Banks are governed by paid shareholders. Voting rights depend on the number of shares owned.
Credit Unions reflect the communities in which they’re based, with decision being made in the community by community leaders.
Big banks are run by a select few people from corporate headquarters far from many of America’s neighborhoods.
Credit unions are the fabric of their community, and look like their community. 51% of CU CEOs are women
Slow to reflect the face of America, only 5% of bank CEOs are women.
10% of credit unions are minority depository institutions (MDIs).
Only 3% of banks are MDIs.
With a focus on member benefits, earnings are returned to members through services like free ATMs, better rates and lower fees.
Because Banks must make money to please shareholders, earnings go to outside stockholders in the form of dividends.
Because they’re focused on people, not profits, many credit unions are eager to help everyday Americans with unforeseen financial emergencies.
Many emergency bank loans have higher rates and poorer terms, given their focus on profits.