About Credit Unions
What are Credit Unions and why use them?
A credit union is a cooperative financial institution in which individuals pool their money to provide loans and services to other members. In the United States, credit unions are nonprofit entities, and their cooperative structure is designed to ensure fair dealing. Additionally, anyone who belongs to a credit union must first qualify to join under a particular institution’s field of membership.
Why Join a CU?
Because the users and members of the cooperative are the same people, the idea behind credit unions is that they provide services that are tailored to the people who use them, rather than to driving profit for the institution. In addition, each member of a credit union, no matter how small his or her holdings, often has a voting share in the credit union’s affairs. This ensures the organization’s policies match up with what members really want. In practice, credit unions offer the same services as banks and are subject to federal regulations that are similar to those under which banks operate. However, because of the democratic organization of these institutions, they are often able to offer higher interest rates and lower fees than their corporate peers. Also, because credit unions are smaller — and often local — institutions, they offer more personal customer service.