Bank vs Credit Union:

Is there a difference?

So, what is a credit union?

Credit unions and banks offer a lot of the same products and services, so at first glance it may be difficult to tell the difference between them.

But when you look a little closer, the differences are significant and important to the way we serve our members.

  Credit Unions Banks
Profit Motive Not-for-profit Profit-driven
Board of Directors Volunteer, member elected Highly-paid, shareholder elected
Ownership Owned by members (accountholders) Owned by stockholders
Excess Capital Returned to members or reinvested in the cooperative Returned to stockholders or reinvested in the bank
Locations Shared branch & ATM network provides 35,000+ access points Customers limited to bank’s network

The Cooperative Business Model

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 members to do their banking from anywhere at any time through cutting-edge technology;
  • Expertise, which means providing members access to resources and expertise to help them reduce financial stress and make better choices about managing their money; and
  • Mutual Benefit, which means participating members share in the success when the cooperative does well.

Arizona Federal's commitment to the seven core principles of the cooperative movement further sets us apart from other financial institutions:

  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 turning to Arizona Federal first for financial needs – like loans, savings accounts, credit cards and checking accounts. In return, active members are eligible to receive excess capital through Plus Payouts 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: We provide our members the tools they need to be financially successful. These tools include workshops, expert's guides on a variety of topics, and financial coaches who meet one-on-one with members.
  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, the Arizona Humane Society and other non-profits throughout the year.

Connect with us