The lowdown: credit unions

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Credit unions have been around since the last turn of the century—so why do people still confuse a credit union for a bank?

With similar services like mortgages, financial advice, and mobile banking—credit unions and banks have a lot in common. But services are really where the similarities stop. A credit union is like a bank, but a bank is not like a credit union. Let’s break it down.

Banks and credit unions are not the same thing.

Like banks, credit unions provide financial services like savings and chequing accounts, retirement savings, business banking, credit cards, online banking and apps, and every other financial service you can think of. Provincially regulated, credit unions have operated in Canada for over 100 years and have evolved to provide the same services as chartered banks. In fact, credit unions have the same—if not higher—deposit protection as banks.

However, unlike banks, credit unions are co-ops—that means our “customers” are actually called members and members have an ownership stake in the business. When credit unions prosper, so do credit union members and vice versa. Think of it like banking, but with a side of community.

Credit unions are run by the communities they serve.

Speaking of community, credit union members are more than just customers. They’re our neighbours, teachers, and local entrepreneurs. That’s why we call our “customers” members—when you open an account with a credit union, you automatically become part of the business. That also means you get to have a say in how they operate our business—because it’s partially your business, too. Credit union members can take part in the decision-making process at annual general meetings (AGM) and at any other point during the year. All they have to do is ask.

Trust built the credit union.

Trust is built over years—generations even. It’s not just about knowing names, it’s about giving honest advice, and sometimes tough advice, knowing that we are doing what is right for our members, sometimes at the expense of making a sale. That’s who we are and that’s how we build trust.

At credit unions, we know that trust is earned. It’s earned through every interaction we have with you—from in-branch to online. And it’s earned through our commitment to putting members first.

Credit unions are not just found in rural areas.

Although credit unions can be found in thousands of communities across Canada—and often in places without the presence of one of Canada’s larger banks—this doesn’t mean they’re a rural financial institution. Credit unions operate in cities, towns, and communities of all shapes and sizes across Atlantic Canada.

Still curious about what makes credit unions so unique? Reach out to your nearest location.