What is the Credit Union Difference

  • Not-for-profit. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. We exist to serve our members, not to make a profit. Unlike most financial institutions, credit unions do not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders. Instead, earnings are returned to our members in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest on deposits, and lower fees.
  • Ownership. Credit unions are ruled by democracy. Each credit union member has equal ownership in the credit union and can vote for credit union board members-regardless of the amount he or she has on deposit.
  • Volunteer Boards. Each credit union is governed by a board of directors, elected by and from the credit union's membership. Board members may serve voluntarily.
  • Membership Eligibility. By current federal and state statutes, credit unions cannot serve the general public. People qualify for credit union membership through their employer, organizational affiliations like churches or social groups, or, in the case of community-chartered credit unions, by defined a geographic area.
  • Financial Education for Members. Credit unions help members become better-educated financial services consumers. Additionally, credit unions are partnering with the National Endowment for Financial Education, a not-for-profit foundation, to expand financial education among high school students. A national study shows that just ten hours of personal finance education can positively affect students' spending and saving habits for a lifetime.
  • Social Purpose: People Helping People. Credit unions exist to help people, not make a profit. Our goal is to serve our entire membership well, including those of modest means - every member counts. As a result, our members are fiercely loyal and they know their credit union will be there for them in bad times, as well as good. The same people-first philosophy causes credit unions and our employees to get involved in community charitable activities and worthwhile causes - just ask us.
  • Taxation. Credit unions pay taxes - payroll taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes. In 1937, Congress exempted credit unions from federal income taxes and affirmed the exemption by statute in 1951. In addition, the Credit Union Membership Access Act of 1998 states: "Credit unions, unlike many other participants in the financial services market, are exempt from Federal and most State taxes because credit unions are member-owned, democratically operated, not-for-profit organizations generally managed by volunteer boards of directors and because they have the specified mission of meeting the credit and savings needs of consumers, especially persons of modest means."
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