A credit union is a cooperative financial institution, owned and controlled by the people who use its services. These people are called “members.”
Credit unions serve people who share something in common, such as where they work, live, occupational background, or go to church. Credit unions are not-for-profit and exist to provide a safe, convenient place for members to save money at higher rates of return, and to receive loans at reasonable rates. Most importantly, credit unions provide greater and friendlier service to the membership, as well as dividends.
Anyone can join a credit union. Find out where you are eligible to join a credit union.
Credit unions, like other financial institutions, are closely regulated. They operate in a very prudent manner. The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (administered by the National Credit Union Administration, an agency of the federal government), insures deposits of credit union members at credit unions nationwide. Operating similar to the deposit insurance protection offered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), deposits are insured up to $250,000.
What makes a credit union different? Like other financial institutions, credit unions accept deposits and make loans to their members. However, unlike the other institutions, which are owned by stockholders (who are interested in personal return on their investments in the form of dividends on shares of stock and higher stock prices), credit unions are not-for-profit and are interested primarily in serving the needs of their members. Dividends on shares are paid to the members, not stockholders. The credit union philosophy continues to guide Texas credit unions, as it has throughout the history of the credit union movement.