Credit Unions and Financial Co-ops Overview

Credit unions are different than your conventional bank. They are owned by the people who bank there, not outside investors. Credit unions are nonprofit banks – all revenue is funneled back into the credit union to lower interest rates and provide extra savings for the people who bank there. A conventional bank is for-profit and operates to return money to its outside investors.


Credit unions operate for the benefit of their member-owners, the account holders. Credit unions have been organized to serve a specific group of people or community that is in need of financial services. Some are small with a single location in one community, while others are found nationwide with millions of members. What they all have in common is their dedication to serving their members and ensuring all people have access to banking, credit, and other financial services. Credit unions in the United States are empowering over 100 million people with ownership of their financial institutions!

What Makes Credit Unions Unique

People and communities thrive with supportive local businesses and institutions. In contrast to conventional banks, credit unions commonly take risks and operate in rural, impoverished, and underserved locations. Credit unions and cooperative banks provide access to capital, an opportunity that individuals, businesses, and communities might not otherwise have, making it possible for millions of people to buy their first car, their first home, start a new business or complete a community project.

“Credit unions in the United States are empowering over 100 million people with ownership of their financial institutions!”

Did you know?

1/3 of the total population in the United States has a membership in a credit union.

Credit unions and cooperative banks can be found in every state and nearly every congressional district.

Co-ops build jobs – credit unions account for 275,000 American jobs!

Helpful Links

Credit Union National Association (CUNA)

National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU)

National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)

National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA

International Co-operative Alliance