More than 7,250 credit unions supply financial services for over 93 million consumers nationwide. Using up-to-date technology, they offer a wide range of services at prices that are usually lower than those of for-profit institutions. While most credit unions serve the broad middle class, an increasing number are meeting the financial services needs of low-income communities. As many banks abandon these areas, community development credit unions are stepping in to serve low and moderate-income households.
During the recent financial crisis, credit unions have shown that “banking” and values do go together and have seen an increase in members; because they were not pressured to pursue the most profitable and risky investments, credit unions have generally done fairly well through the crisis, and have not needed government bailouts. Credit union deposits are insured through a special share insurance fund
While most co-ops are open to anyone who wants to join, credit unions are required to limit membership to certain classes of people, such as residents of a certain location or employees of a certain organization.
Credit unions are generally consumer co-ops, but they also organize into purchasing or shared service co-ops called “corporate” credit unions, as well as numerous credit union service organizations (CUSOs).
Navy Federal is the nation’s largest credit union. It has more than three million members and holds over $47 billion in assets.
State Employees Credit Union of North Carolina is the nation’s second-largest credit union.
TULIP Cooperative Credit Union is a low-income credit union, chartered specifically to serve people who are often excluded from the formal financial industry.
Credit Union National Association works with credit union leagues to help reserve and enlarge opportunities for credit unions to serve their members.
National Association of Federal Credit Unions is the trade association that exclusively represents the interests of federal credit unions before all branches of the federal government and the public.
National Credit Union Administration is an independent financial regulatory agency of the Federal government, responsible for chartering, supervising, examining and insuring federal credit unions. It administers the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which is comparable to the FDIC for banks.
National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions was established in 1974 to represent credit unions serving low-income communities. Current membership is 225 credit unions with combined assets of $4.1 billion.
California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are combined to form the nation’s largest regional trade association for credit unions, with more than 700 member financial institutions representing 10 million credit union members and holding more than $126 billion in assets.