Credit unions are non-profit and are owned by their members, while governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Net earnings are retained as capital as the credit union grows and excess is distributed to members in the form of lower fees, loan rates, and dividends (interest on savings).


Credit unions originated in the 1800s in Europe during severe depression eras to facilitate a cooperative entity that would benefit a group of people to “help themselves.” As an alternative to banks, they eventually evolved in the United States and have many of the same products and services as other financial institutions.