A credit union is a co-operative financial institution, owned and controlled by the members who use its services. Credit unions serve groups that share a common bond, such as where they work, live or go to church.
Credit unions are also not-for-profit and exist to provide a safe, convenient place for members to save money and to get loans and other financial services at reasonable rates.
In credit unions, the members are the owner. Benefits of ownership include better rates on deposits and loans and better service. Regardless of their size or field of membership, credit unions are different than for-profit financial institutions. Credit unions exist to serve their members. Bank and other financial institutions exist to make money for their stockholders.
Credit Unions are member-owned, cooperative financial institutions that provide many of the same financial services that banks do, savings and checking accounts, youth and senior accounts, loans for a variety of purposes, insurance, convenient services to access and send funds and more.
In essence they are mutual organizations operated entirely by and for their members.
While for-profit institutions must make a profit for their shareholders, in a credit union any earnings in excess of operational costs are returned to the members in the form of increased interest on savings, improved return on shares, decreased rates on loans or other new and improved services.(Courtesy World Council of Credit Unions)