Credit Unions vs. Banks

While banks and credit unions provide similar products and services, credit unions offer a member-focused approach that may be a better fit for you on your financial journey. From their ownership status to their corporate mission, here are a few key factors that set credit unions apart.

Not-for-profit vs. For-profit

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions.

Credit unions share profits with members in ways such as lower rates on loans, higher rates on deposits, etc.

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Banks are for-profit.

Banks are for-profit corporations that typically try to maximize profits for their shareholders.


Credit unions have members.

When you join a credit union like Ascend, you become part of a community of people working together to prioritize the financial well-being of all members. To learn how easy it is to join Ascend, visit our Eligibility page.

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Banks have customers.

While some banks may offer accounts with certain requirements, anyone can join a bank and deposit funds. There are usually no specific eligibility requirements based on factors like location or occupation.


Credit unions are owned by our members.

When you open an account, you become a member-owner of the credit union and have a say in how the credit union operates.

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Banks are owned by stockholders.

As banks are owned by stockholders, customers have no ownership interest in their bank and are not able to elect their board members.


Credit unions are regulated and insured by the NCUA.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) regulates and insures all federally-chartered credit unions up to at least $250,000 per share owner, per insured credit union, for each account ownership category. Learn more at

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Banks are regulated and insured by the FDIC.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures banks up to at least $250,000 per individual depositor.

Credit Unions vs. Banks