Credit Unions vs. Commercial Banks

This section aims to help you decide whether to choose a credit union or commercial bank and provide an overview of the different services they offer.

How do I decide between a credit union and a bank?

This video, narrated by Francis Perez, the Senior Retention Specialist at CEO, outlines the differences between commercial banks and credit unions. If you have more questions about commercial banks and credit unions, please consult a CEO staff member or a certified financial professional.

Commercial Banks

  • Are for profit institutions, meaning they have to make money for their investors

  • Do not require membership and anyone is eligible to open an account

  • No decision making ability in bank policies

  • Will often have high interest rates on loans and lower interest rates on savings products

  • Have more products and investment opportunities

  • Do not consider you a stakeholder and often have stricter rules

  • Often have more locations and are easier to access

  • Have more fees which are often higher in dollar value

  • Can be traded on the stock market


Credit Unions

  • Are not for profit institutions, and are supported by their members

  • Require membership

  • Some Credit Unions have a field of membership to join (eligibility is based on factors such as location, school, or being an employee of a company)

  • Able to vote on decisions and credit union policies

  • Will often have low interest rates on loans and higher interest rates on savings products

  • Have fewer products and investment opportunities

  • Consider you a stakeholder in the credit union and customer service is often better

  • Have fewer locations and are harder to access​

  • Have fewer fees which are often lower in dollar value​

  • Cannot be traded on the stock market