Ellie Mae O'Hagan,Guardian, UK - According to Move Your Money UK, over 500,000 people have joined credit unions in this year alone. In the US, the figures are even more remarkable: from the start of 2009 to mid-2010, 1.5 million members joined credit unions in a year – the number of new members usually expected in a 14-year period. When you examine how credit unions works, it's easy to see why.
Unlike big banks, credit unions don't engage in any form of casino finance. When you deposit money into a credit union account, it isn't invested anywhere or gambled in any way. The only time it is used by the credit union is when it is loaned to other account holder... Those who join credit unions are not customers, but members – like a co-operative. This allows their interests to be put first, and gives them a share of the profit at the end of the year in the form of a dividend. In credit unions, there are no shareholders demanding more money, no dodgy loans or credit cards, no millionaire CEOs and no bonuses.