Why Credit Unions


Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. This means that after covering operating costs, earnings are distributed to their member-shareholders—often through lower rates on loans, higher earnings on deposited funds, and more affordable service fees. Every individual who has an account at a credit union is a member, which means they are also a shareholder and entitled to the benefits of membership.

Credit unions help strengthen communities worldwide and follow a set of international operating principles that help guide governance decisions and set high standards for operations. The Principles can be categorized in three areas:

Democratic Structure

Open & Voluntary Membership

Democratic Control


Service to Members

Distribution to Members

Building Financial Stability

Social Goals

Ongoing Education

Cooperation Among Cooperatives

Social Responsibility

Learn more by viewing the World Council of Credit Union’s International Operating Principles (PDF).