How do credit unions in the USA differ from banks?
The difference between a bank and a credit union is that the latter are considered non-profit because they work to serve their members, and banks generate profits for shareholders.
Unlike a charitable or other non-profit organization, credit unions do not rely on donations.
Like financial institutions, credit unions create profits from an economic point of view in order to continue working and generate additional profits for their members.
The basic idea is that the monetary gain is passed on to union members in the form of higher fees on their savings and deposits - and lower interest rates on their loans when they borrow money.
Credit unions use their super profits to offer members more affordable loan rates, a higher interest rate on savings and lower fees.
They also invest their super-profits in creating new products and financial services, such as online banking and software to pay bills or other benefits for entities.
Of course, they must maintain liquidity and a balanced reserve in order to stay in business. In this regard, credit unions are not very different from any other commercial enterprise, except for the fact that in a cooperative, customers also own a bank.
Due to membership restrictions, to become a member of a credit union, you must either be part of a specific group — such as schools, churches, or communities — or be associated with someone in the group. If you are able to qualify for credit union membership through your work, family, profession, or community, it is worth it, as membership in a credit union offers great benefits.
Since credit unions are not involved in business and do not generate profits for shareholders, they are often able to provide the best interest rates on loans and other investment services.
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