The credit union difference
We're people helping people.
While banks and credit unions offer many of the same products and services, there's a big difference in the way the two are structured. Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. That means we're owned by the people who use our products and services – our members. Earnings are returned to members through better rates and lower fees, which also benefits our communities and local economies. Banks are for-profit corporations where profits are paid to the bank's shareholders.
Credit unions are also led by an unpaid board of volunteer directors who are democratically elected by their fellow members. This helps ensure that decisions at the highest level are made in our members' interest. While a bank's board is made up of the shareholders who own the bank and collect its profits, credit unions never have to choose between satisfying shareholders or serving our members - they're the same people.
|Member-owned||Owned by a small group shareholders|
|Not-for-profit cooperative||For-profit corporation|
|Earnings returned to members through
better rates and lower fees
|Profits paid to shareholders|
|Self-governed by an unpaid,
volunteer board of directors
|Led by shareholders who
collect the bank's profits
|Board elected democratically by members
one member = one vote
|Only shareholders vote
more shares = more votes
Because of this difference in structure, credit unions and banks are taxed differently. Credit unions pay millions in taxes annually, including sales, property and employer-related taxes. Instead of a franchise tax that for-profit banks pay, Iowa's state-chartered, not-for-profit credit unions pay a moneys and credits tax on legal reserves. A credit union's excess earnings are returned to members through better rates and lower fees. In fact, our members saved an estimated $45 million last year by using products and services at Veridian compared to what they would have paid at a for-profit bank. That savings also benefits our local economies.
You're a member. Are you an advocate?
Bank lobbyists routinely reach out to lawmakers to promote legislation that would weaken or eliminate their competition from credit unions. That means your representative needs to hear from constituents like you, Iowa’s credit union member-owners. Don't let a bank lobbyist speak on your behalf to your representative. Sign up to be a credit union advocate with the Iowa Credit Union League below. As an advocate, you’ll be notified when there’s an increased need for your legislator to hear from you.
Note: The resources linked above are provided by the Iowa Credit Union League to encourage credit union advocacy in the Iowa legislature. Submissions from Nebraska residents will be shared with the Nebraska Credit Union League as an expression of your interest to advocate with Nebraska lawmakers and candidates. Learn more about opportunities to advocate for credit unions in Nebraska.