Financial Tip #2 - How Credit Unions Are Different Than Banks Page ContentIf you have never belonged to a credit union, you might not be aware of how these member-owned and operated financial institutions differ from banks. Here are some points to consider: Credit unions in the United States operate as not-for-profit institutions. Being a part of a credit union means supporting a community of members. In contrast, banks are corporations that seek to make a profit and have shares holders. In general, credit unions offer higher savings rates, so your money grows faster. Lower rates on loans available through credit unions mean that you will owe less over the lifetime of a loan. Datatrac, a financial research and technology firm, regularly provides NCUA with credit union and bank interest rate comparisons. Credit unions are often recognized for customer service, and are expanding their products and services to meet the needs of the 21st century. Check with your local credit union to learn more about what is available to you. To join a credit union, potential members must be part of a field of membership, which is typically based on one’s employment, community, where one worships, or membership in an association or organization. For more information on joining a credit union in your area, check out Find a Credit Union.