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A credit union is in many ways similar to other financial institutions. Credit unions typically have savings accounts, checking accounts, loans, certificates of deposit, credit cards, etc. The difference is in the ownership and operation. Banks are owned and operated by shareholders and credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives, owned and operated by the membership. Therefore, the policies governing interest rates and other important matters are set forth by a volunteer Board of Directors elected by the membership of the credit union.