Credit Unions vs. Banks: What’s the difference?

woman looking in wallet money bank account


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – Credit unions combine the local neighborhood friendliness and access that is so hard to find elsewhere, with the services and technologies people want most.

What are credit unions?

Credit unions are financial cooperatives where the members who belong are the owners and users.  Credit Unions are not-for-profit organizations offering a wide array of financial services. Members are guaranteed that their credit union is looking out for their financial interests and not that of a small group of stockholders

What’s the difference?

While banks have clients, credit unions have part owners or members. When you open an account, your account is actually a share.  On top of this, credit unions are not run for profit. Instead credit unions have the ultimate goal of providing their members better rates on loans and financial products.

Do they offer all financial services?

Yes.  Credit unions offer the same array of financial services you’d expect from anywhere, from free online bill pay, free checking, and mortgages to debit cards, credit cards, mobile access, the latest technology, and more. Credit unions provide what people want most in financial services. In addition, most credit unions provide national ATM access through a cooperative network for more convenience.  

Do I have to pay a fee to belong or have to have credit?

No, not at all.  A credit union is a cooperative.  The members save together, borrow together, and it’s democratically controlled.  Studies show that credit unions also offer, on average, better interest rates on savings and better terms on credit cards and other loans.  Average fees at credit unions are substantially lower than other FIs which saves you even more.

Can anyone join?

Yes!  Anyone can join a credit union, and credit unions are super easy to find.

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