What is the Difference Between a Bank and a Credit Union?

Are you wondering what the difference is between a bank and a credit union? Both financial institutions offer similar services, but there are some key differences that you should be aware of. Read on to learn more about the main differences between banks and credit unions .

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What is a bank?

A bank is a financial institution that is licensed to accept deposits and make loans. Banks may also provide other financial services, such as wealth management, currency exchange, and safe deposit box services. Credit unions , on the other hand, are not-for-profit organizations that are owned and controlled by their members.

What do banks do?

Banks are for-profit institutions that use depositors’ money to make loans and generate income for shareholders. They offer a variety of services, including checking and savings accounts, loans, credit cards and investment products.

Banks are tightly regulated by the federal government through agencies like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). These agencies exist to protect consumers and ensure that banks are operating safely and soundly.

What are the benefits of using a bank?

There are many benefits of using a bank, including:

-Convenience: Banks offer a wide variety of services that can make your life easier, such as online and mobile banking, direct deposit, bill pay and more.
-Security: Banks are regulated by state and federal governments to ensure your money is safe. Your deposits are alsoinsured by the FDIC up to $250,000 per account.
-Earnings potential: When you put your money in a savings account or CD at a bank, it has the potential to earn interest. This can help you reach your financial goals sooner.
-Borrowing power: If you ever need to borrow money for a major purchase or unexpected expense, a bank can be a good place to get a loan.

What is a credit union?

A credit union is a member-owned financial cooperative that is managed by a board of directors who are elected by the membership. Credit unions offer the same types of products and services as banks, but they are not-for-profit entities. This means that they are able to offer higher interest rates on savings accounts and lower interest rates on loans.

What do credit unions do?

A credit union is a nonprofit, cooperative financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members. Credit unions provide savings, checking, and loan services to their members and earn income from the interest paid on loans and from fees. Credit unions use surplus funds to make loans at below-market rates and to pay dividends (interest) to depositors.

Credit unions differ from banks in several ways:
-Credit unions are member-owned cooperatives. Banks are investor-owned businesses.
-Credit unions return earnings to their members in the form of higher dividends on savings, lower rates on loans, and low or no fees. Banks return earnings to stockholders in the form of dividends.
-Credit union members elect a volunteer board of directors from among the membership to set policy and represent their interests. Banks have a board of directors elected by the stockholders.
-All credit unions are required by law to have insurance (NCUSIF) to protect deposits, just like banks (FDIC).

What are the benefits of using a credit union?

Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations that are owned and controlled by their members. They exist to serve their members, not to make a profit. Because they don’t have to answer to stockholders, they can offer higher interest rates on deposits and lower interest rates on loans. They also tend to have lower fees than banks.

Credit unions are member-owned Cooperatives. This means that each credit union is democratically controlled by its members. Each member has one vote, regardless of how much money they have deposited with the credit union. This structure allows credit unions to better serve their members because they are not beholden to outside shareholders like banks are.

There are many benefits of using a credit union instead of a bank. Some of these benefits include:
-Better Interest Rates: Credit unions offer better interest rates on both loans and savings accounts when compared to most banks.
-Lower Fees: Credit unions typically charge lower fees than banks do.
-Equal Access for All Members: Regardless of how much money you have deposited with the credit union, you will have equal access to products and services and you will have one vote in the democratic process.
-Personalized Service: Credit unions are small enough that they can offer personalized service. You are not just a number at a credit union.
-Community Involvement: Most credit unions are heavily involved in their communities.

What are the differences between a bank and a credit union?

The main difference between a bank and a credit union is that banks are for-profit institutions while credit unions are non-profit. This means that banks aim to make money for their shareholders, whereas credit unions aim to serve their members. This difference affects how each institution is run and the services they offer.


The services offered by banks and credit unions are largely the same. Both offer checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, CDs, loans, and credit cards. The main difference is that credit unions are nonprofits and banks are for-profits. That means credit unions don’t have to answer to shareholders like banks do. Instead, they can focus on providing the best possible service to their members.


Most banks charge fees for things like minimum balance, account maintenance, and even for using your debit card. Credit unions typically don’t have these fees. In addition, credit unions often offer free checking and savings accounts. So, if you are someone who tends to carry a low balance or likes to use your debit card frequently, a credit union could save you quite a bit of money in fees.


One of the biggest differences between a bank and a credit union is their locations. Banks tend to have multiple branch locations, often in different cities and sometimes even in different states. They also have ATM machines located in public places such as convenience stores, so you can withdraw cash no matter where you are. Credit unions usually have only one physical location. This can make it difficult to access your money if you’re not near the credit union, but many credit unions offer online and mobile banking to make up for this.


The main difference between a bank and a credit union is who they serve. Banks are for-profit businesses that exist to make money for their shareholders. Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives that exist to serve their members.

In order to become a member of a credit union, you must first qualify for membership. This usually means that you must live, work, or worship in the same community as the credit union. Banks do not have this requirement, so anyone can open an account at a bank.

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