What’s the difference between a credit union and bank?

Business News | 22 Oct |

Many people may be unfamiliar with how a credit union is different from a bank. Understanding the differences may help you decide where you want to bank and the local choices you have in the Valley.

READ ALSO: Forbes recognizes TruWest as America’s Best Credit Union in Arizona

For example, TruWest Credit Union, a large credit union in Metro Phoenix has had a long history. It was established in 1952 as Motorola Credit Union and today has more than 93,000 members with eight Metro Phoenix locations.

Jennifer Kimmell is senior vice president and chief marketing officer at TruWest Credit Union.

The main difference between a credit union and a bank is that credit unions are not-for-profit institutions where banks are for-profit and are either privately owned or publicly traded. Credit unions are owned by its members and are set up as a cooperative. When you become a member of TruWest, you become a part-owner of the credit union, with a voice to help drive the decisions.

This for-profit vs. not-for-profit status results in different benefits for members. Credit union profits are typically returned back to members  through better rates on loans, lower fees and higher yields on savings and checking accounts. Credit unions provide the same services banks offer, including access to ATMs, online and mobile banking, credit cards, wealth management services and more but with typically lower costs. TruWest also aims to go beyond traditional services and provides its members with access to major partners, including access to special auto pricing through Costco Auto and supporting small businesses with debit and credit card processing through Total Merchant Concepts.

Another major difference between credit unions and banks is the culture and approach to service. TruWest provides what is called the ‘TruDifference’, a people-first approach, a pledge to give great service and create a culture of caring for members, employees and the community. TruWest leadership takes an active role in supporting staff development through diversity and inclusion education, supporting their work-life balance and recruiting solutions to problems from the bottom-up.

We hope that you will experience the difference for yourself and visit us online at truwest.org or at branch soon.


Jennifer Kimmell is senior vice president and chief marketing officer at TruWest Credit Union.

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