A member-owned approach to banking.
A credit union is a cooperative financial institution, owned and controlled by its members — the people who use its services. Credit unions serve groups that share something in common, such as where they work, live, worship, or go to school. Credit unions are not-for-profit and exist to provide a safe, convenient place for members to save money and get loans at reasonable rates.
Credit unions, like other financial institutions, are closely regulated and operate in a very prudent manner. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, administered by the National Credit Union Administration, an agency of the federal government, insures deposits of credit union members at more than 11,000 federal- and state-chartered credit unions nationwide. Deposits are insured up to $250,000.
Like credit unions, these financial institutions accept deposits and make loans — but unlike credit unions, they are in business to make a profit for their stockholders. Since credit unions are owned by the members they serve, credit unions are able to pass along excess earnings in the form of higher savings rates, lower loan rates, and lower fees.