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The most important thing to understand when you are trying to determine the difference between a bank and a credit union, is that a credit union is a not-for-profit organization operated for the benefit of its members. Instead of maximizing corporate profits, a credit union invests its resources to deliver lower rates, outstanding service, and member benefits. It’s like a bank you own — with the privileges of membership to boot. Banks are for profit — you are considered a customer and a bank’s goal is to maximize profits to pay company stockholders