Bank vs Credit Union:

Is there a difference?

So ... What is a credit union?

Credit unions are often thought of as behind the times, old school and the same as any old bank. In most cases, that is simply not true. Credit unions are financial cooperatives, comprised of members who have joined together to pursue a common goal.

At Arizona Federal, that common goal is being in control of our personal finances. And that boils down to three things:

  • Empowerment, which means making it easy for all of Us to do our banking from anywhere at any time through cutting-edge technology;
  • Expertise, which means having access to resources and expertise to help all of Us reduce our financial stress and make better choices about managing our money; and
  • Mutual Benefit, which means participating members share in the success when the cooperative does well.

In addition to our common goal, Arizona Federal's commitment to the seven core principles of the cooperative movement further sets us apart from other financial intuitions:

  1. Voluntary and open membership. Anyone who lives, works, goes to school or worships in Maricopa or Pinal counties or the City of Tucson can become a member of Arizona Federal, as long as their willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.
  2. Democratic Member Control. Arizona Federal is owned by our members and governed by a member-elected Board of Directors.
  3. Members' Economic Participation. Members participate in the credit union by paying monthly dues and turning to Us first for financial needs – like loans, savings accounts, credit cards and checking accounts. In return, active members are eligible to receive excess capital through the PLUs program when the cooperative performs well.
  4. Autonomy and Independence. Because Arizona Federal is self-governed, decisions are made to serve the best interests of our members. We do not exist to enrich outside investors. Everything we do is directed at helping our members become savvy financial consumers.
  5. Education, Training and Information. Arizona Federal provides members the tools they need to be financially successful, like workshops, expert's guides on a variety of topics, and financial coaches who meet one-on-one with members to help them develop a financial game plan.
  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives. Arizona Federal partners with other credit unions through the CO-OP Network to provide members access to more than 5,000 credit union branches and 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide.
  7. Concern for Community. In addition to serving our members, we also support and serve our local communities. Our members and employees are very generous in supporting the 100 Club, Wilson Community Center, Phoenix Sister Cities and other non-profits throughout the year.

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