Credit Unions vs. Banks

November 19, 2019

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When it comes to your banking and financial needs, you may be wondering if you should pick a bank or a credit union — and why. 

Credit unions provide the same types of financial products and services as a big bank. Locally owned by their account holders, known as Members or Owners, credit unions like Libro provide physical branch locations, ATMs, and both online and mobile banking. 

We dive deeper into the question, “what is a credit union?” in our blog. For now, let’s discuss the difference between a credit union and a bank.

Ownership

Credit unions are financial co-operatives owned by account holders. At Libro, we call our account holders our Owners because that’s what you are! As an Owner you can impact the future of our organization and receive profit shares.

Banks are owned by their shareholders who may or may not be customers.

Profit Sharing

Credit unions reinvest their profits back into the people, businesses, and communities they serve. At Libro, we earn revenue and use it to provide Owners with competitive returns, exceptional service, and financial coaching along with tools to do your banking the way you choose. Rather than distributing annual profits to shareholders, we give Owners a portion of earnings in the form of profit shares.

As large, publicly-traded, for-profit entities, banks operate with the purpose of making a profit for shareholders while providing products and services to their customers.

Regulations

Ontario credit unions are provincially regulated while adhering to certain federal requirements. We work with the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) as our regulator and other government agencies to ensure our Owners are protected and supported. 

Big banks are overseen by the federal government, which is also tasked with monitoring foreign banks that operate within Canada. 

Board members

A credit union has a board of directors made up of volunteers who have been voted in by our Owner Representatives. Owner Representatives are voted in by our Owners to represent their community. This means Libro Owners make up our board and are invested in the future of the organization. 

In contrast, a bank’s board members are appointed and paid by shareholders. 

Coaching 

The real difference between banks and credit unions is the financial coaching  we offer. At Libro, we provide personalized financial coaching to our Owners to help grow their personal prosperity, whatever prosperity means to them. 

Banks also offer financial coaching but at Libro, we do things differently. Want to experience the credit union difference for yourself? Contact Libro and make an appointment with a Coach today.