Credit unions passed a big milestone this year. Now it’s time to shoot for 200 million members.

Earlier this month the Credit Union National Association announced that credit unions had surpassed 100 million members nationwide. It’s a big milestone – and a sign that CUs are really catching on. But the CU movement still has a tiny footprint compared to banks.

Even though there are around 7,000 credit unions nationwide, banks still control 94% of deposits. That’s right, CUs only have 6%.

Most of those 7,000 CUs are small institutions that are 100% focused on the communities in which they operate. All CUs are not-for-profit, member-owned institutions. They are run on passion and commitment, not Wall Street money.

Because of this non-for-profit status, CUs return any money they “make” back to their members. This usually comes in the form of lower fees — and better rates on loans.

Despite all the financial pressures of the past six years, CUs still offer a better deal than banks. In fact, a full 72% of CUs offer free checking, as opposed to just 38% of banks.

Big banks charge a median overdraft fee of $35, while small CUs charge a median fee of just $25.

With all the advantages CUs offer, it’s a wonder that everyone doesn’t embrace the movement, and join a credit union. One hundred million is a very nice number; now it’s time to shoot for 200 million. So tell your friends about this great, not-for-profit way to bank.


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