A credit union is a user owned, democratically controlled financial cooperative, offering services similar to a bank. Credit unions serve groups whose participants share something in common, such as where they work, live, go to church or school, or associate together in a club. Credit union users are called members who must be approved for membership by a board of directors. Credit unions are not-for-profit, and exist to provide a safe, convenient place for its members to save and borrow money at reasonable rates. Members own their credit union. There are no stockholders.
As a credit union member:
- You are an owner of the credit union, not a customer,
- You get to elect the board of directors and might even serve on the board of directors or as a volunteer in some other position,
- You get to keep more of your money because the credit union will charge less for loans and other services and pay you more on your investments, and
- You are protected from loss up to at least $250,000 by NCUA.