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About Credit Unions

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What's The Difference Between Members 1st And A Bank?

While both credit unions and banks may offer similar products and services (checking, credit cards, mortgages, etc.), there are differences in how each type of financial institution operates. Here are the major differences:

BANKS CREDIT UNIONS
Generate profit for stockholders. Make decisions based on what will give stockholders more profit. Not for profit, not for charity, but for service. Without a "profit motive," we make decisions based on what's best for our members.
Commercial businesses. Offer services to make a profit. Financial cooperatives. Members pool their savings to provide low-cost loans and low-fee services to each other.
People who buy stock in the bank own shares of the business. Each member is an equal owner.
Serve customers from the general public. Anyone can use a bank. Exist solely to serve their members. A person must be within the credit union's field of membership, as defined by their charter, in order to join.
The Board of Directors are paid a salary. Daily operations are performed by a paid staff. Unpaid volunteers from the membership serve on the Board of Directors and guide the credit union. Daily operations are performed by a paid staff.
Only people who own stock can vote for the Board of Directors. The customers who use the bank don't have a say. As owners, members elect fellow members to serve on the Board of Directors.
Income is returned to the stockholders in the form of higher dividends on their shares of stock. Income is returned to members in the forms of better savings rates, lower loan rates, and low or no fees for services.
Like other for-profit businesses, banks must pay taxes to the government. Like other not-for-profit institutions, credit unions are exempt from paying federal income tax.
Deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 by the FDIC, a government agency. Deposits are federally insured up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration, a government agency. The NCUA's insurance fund is the healthiest of all federal deposit insurance funds.
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