The Credit Union Difference
Banks vs. Credit Unions: What's the Same?
What's the Difference?
Other Credit Union Benefits
- More attractive loan rates
- Low or no fees
- Local, personalized service
History of Credit Unions
In the1800’s Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen fathered the credit union idea to help impoverished farmers in western Germany who were ruined by drought and indebted to unscrupulous moneylenders.
The idea behind the credit union movement was simple: people could achieve a better standard of living by pooling their money and making loans to neighbors and co-workers. People helping people.
In 1900, the credit union concept crossed the Atlantic to Quebec. Alphonse Desjardins became aware of loan sharks charging outrageous interest to working class families, Desjardins responded by organizing the first credit union in North America.
During the 1920s, the U.S. credit union movement became increasingly popular. Families had more money to save and could afford products like automobiles and washing machines. They, however, needed a source of inexpensive credit to purchase these goods. The popularity of credit unions grew because commercial banks and savings institutions generally showed limited interested in offering such consumer loans.
In 2009, in the aftermath of the great recession, credit unions continued to lend to members while banks tightened their underwriting.
Today credit unions continue to grow with over 102 million credit union account holders while maintaining the original intent of people helping people.