The Credit Union philosophy is People Helping People. Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives providing financial services to the member-owners who save and borrow there. They exist solely to serve these members, and not stockholders. Credit unions operate not for profit, not for charity, but for service. Funds on deposit at the credit union are insured up to $250,000 by an agency of the U.S government - the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).
Credit unions are owned by the members who use and benefit from their services. The members of a credit union usually share a common bond, such as a membership in a church, community, city, or neighborhood. Credit unions are governed by a volunteer board of directors who are elected by and from among the members of the credit union. Although the directors serve as volunteers, they are required to go through annual training to ensure that they are aware of regulatory and compliance requirements.
Credit Unions are tax-exempt. The benefits of this status as a not-for-profit cooperative are returned to members in the form of higher dividends on savings and lower fees and loan rates. This in turn provides opportunities for members to own homes, finance autos as well as build and repair credit. The credit union consistently provides opportunities for members to grow financially.
Credit unions do not operate for profit. Unlike for-profit banks and other financial service providers, the credit union is not driven by the profit concerns of a small group of stock-holders. In traditional banks, a large source of income and profit comes from fees for services provided and interest rates charged on loans. Since the motivation for business is different in credit unions, fees are fewer and lower while interest rates paid to members on savings are higher and those paid by the member on loans are lower.
View this fun infographic about why credit unions are a smarter choice.