A credit union is a cooperative financial institution that is owned and managed by its members, and is closely regulated just like any other financial institution. Usually, credit unions provide services to groups that share common interests or something in common (such as a workplace), an area where they live, or a church they visit. Credit unions were created with an objective to provide a secure and convenient place where members can save their money and also avail for loans at reasonable prices.
- At credit unions, depositors are called members. Each member is an owner of the credit union
- Since credit union members are owners, each member, regardless of how much money they have on deposit, has one vote in electing board members. Members can also run for election to the board.
- Credit unions’ boards are comprised of volunteers who reflect the diversity of the membership.
- Credit unions are local and are organized to serve the interests of its membership.
- Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives, whose earnings are paid back to members in the form of higher savings rates and lower loan rates.
- Credit unions focus on consumer loans and member savings, as well as services needed by the membership.
- Credit unions cooperate with other credit unions and share resources to bring convenience and savings to its members. CU Service Centers and the CO-OP ATM Network are just two examples of this cooperation between credit unions.
- In the entire history of U.S. credit unions, taxpayer funds have never been used to bail out a credit union.