Credit Unions vs. Banks

Credit Unions vs. Banks

A look at how credit unions and banks stack up by the numbers.

What are credit unions?

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. They are cooperative owned and controlled by members, not by shareholders.

What are the benefits of credit unions?

Credit union members have democratic control and can attend and participate in regular and special membership meeting. Since they are exempt from federal taxes, there are more resources available to member-owners. Resources are returned in the form of lower fees, better rates on savings accounts, and lower interest rates on loans. In comparison, Big Bank profits are funneled into expensive national advertising budgets and huge executive compensation packages.

How do credit unions and banks stack up by the numbers?

Lower overdraft fees -- $26.78 versus $32.74 for banks.
Lower minimum amount to open an account -- $9.84 versus $65.83 at banks.
Lower fees to use an out-of-network ATM -- $1.50 is the most common fee, compared with $2.50 at banks.

How accessible are credit unions in Los Angeles?

There are over 150 credit unions in L.A. With over 5,000 credit unions across the globe, and access to tens of thousands of ATMs, they are increasingly convenient nationally. WIth many credit union networks, you can do deposits, withdrawals, and use other ATMs without fees.

Credit Unions
Not for profit
Low rates on credit cards and auto loans
Owned by members
Operated by mostly volunteer boards
Prioritizes consumers
Socially responsible

For profit
High rates on credit cards and auto loans
Owned by outside stockholders
Controlled by paid boards
Prioritizes stockholders
Corporately responsible

Below is a spreadsheet of local credit unions and ATMs for divestment on an individual level. Banks highlighted in blue have open memberships to all residents in Los Angeles City and County.

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