Credit unions serve groups that share something in common, such as where they work, live, or worship. Unlike banks or other savings institutions, they are not-for-profit, which means that earnings are returned to members in the form of better rates on their savings and loans or are invested in new or improved services.
Credit unions, like other financial institutions, are closely regulated. 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 more than 6,000 federal and state-chartered credit unions nationwide. Savings are insured to at least $250,000.