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Credit unions are not "just like banks." While both credit unions and banks offer a full range of financial products, structurally they are completely different. Luckily, that difference translates into a wealth of benefits to credit union members and their communities. Here's how:

Governance – Credit unions are locally owned by the members who do business with them, not stockholders. Credit union members elect a volunteer board of directors from among the membership, and the board looks out for members’ best interests. At credit unions like SIUECU, it’s not just about the bottom line. It’s about what benefits you – the members.

Purpose – Not-for-profit credit unions exist solely to meet the financial needs of their member owners. Because they have no stockholders expecting dividends, earnings are invested in members in the form of more competitive rates of return on accounts, lower interest on loans, lower fees and improved services.

Member Benefits— Money made by a credit union is invested in members. Whether through competitive product pricing – which helps working people stretch their money further – or by offering services members may not be able to get somewhere else. We treat all members equally regardless of how much they have on deposit. Finally, credit unions provide financial counseling, educational seminars and more opportunities that for-profit institutions often see as a drain on resources better put toward profit making.

Values— Credit union values aren't in profits; they're in people. And that translates to significant contributions within the communities we serve. For example, credit unions lead the nation when it comes to branches operating inside schools— a way for young people to learn to use financial products (such as credit cards) responsibly. As part of their community efforts, credit unions also reach out to people with low incomes, new Americans and people who lack a relationship with a financial institution to offer an affordable alternative to predatory financial providers, such as high cost payday lenders.