What is the Difference Between a Credit Union and a Bank
Credit unions differ from banks and other financial institutions in that the members who have accounts in the credit union are the member/owners of the credit union and they elect their board of directors in a democratic one-person-one-vote system regardless of the amount of money invested in the credit union. A credit union's policies governing interest rates and other matters are set by an all volunteer Board of Directors elected by and from the membership itself.
Credit unions offer many of the same financial services as banks, often using a different terminology; common services include: share accounts (savings accounts), share draft (checking) accounts, credit cards, share certificates (certificates of deposit), and online banking. Normally, only a member of a credit union may deposit money with the credit union, or borrow money from it. As such, credit unions have historically marketed themselves as providing superior member service and being committed to helping members improve their financial health.
Credit unions often offer competitive rates on everything from savings accounts, auto and home loans, and credit cards in part because they are non-profit agencies and have no taxes to pay and not publicly traded corporations. This way they can pay their members above-average rates on deposits and charge below-average rates on loans and credit cards. On average consumers find the best interest rates at credit unions compared to banks.