|DOW Credit Union||Banks|
|Not for profit||For-profit corporations who offer a full range of financial products and services.|
|Earnings are returned to members through services like free ATMs, better rates and lower fees||Earnings go to outside bond and stockholders in the form of dividends|
|Insured by NCUA up to $250,000||Insured by FDIC up to $250,000|
|Credit unions are democratically governed and elections are based on a one-member, one-vote philosophy||Banks are governed by paid shareholders. Voting rights depend on the number of shares owned|
|More than 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs||Banks require customers to use their branded ATMs and branches for services or pay fees. Some services are unavailable outside the bank|
|Credit unions are local, community based financial institutions. Members support their local communities when they bank at a credit union.||Banks are big! The average size of a bank is double that of a credit union.|
|Credit unions have members, not shareholders||Banks have customers and shareholders. They must make money from their customers to please shareholders|
More information about the Credit Union Difference
Social Purpose: People Helping People. Credit unions exist to help people, not make a profit. Our goal is to serve all of our members well, including those of modest means - every member counts. Our members are fiercely loyal for this reason. They know their credit union will be there for them in bad times, as well as good. The same people-first philosophy causes credit unions and our employees to get involved in community charitable activities and worthwhile causes - just ask us.
Not-for-profit. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. We exist to serve our members, not to make a profit. Unlike most other financial institutions, credit unions do not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders. Instead, earnings are returned to our members in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest on deposits, and lower fees.
Ownership. Credit unions are economic democracy. Each credit union member has equal ownership and one vote -- regardless of how much money a member has on deposit. At a credit union, every customer is both a member and an owner.
Volunteer Boards. Each credit union is governed by a board of directors, elected by and from the credit union's membership. Board members serve voluntarily.
Financial Education for Members. Credit unions assist members to become better- educated consumers of financial services. Additionally, CUNA is partnering with the National Endowment for Financial Education, a not-for-profit foundation, to expand financial education among high school students. A national study shows that just ten hours of personal finance education can positively affect students' spending and savings habits for a lifetime.
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