What do you call a credit union customer?

It’s not a bad joke. It’s a real question—but maybe a trick question.

You see, credit unions don’t have customers. The people who have deposit accounts or loans at credit unions aren’t customers. They’re member-owners.

They’re owners because credit unions are cooperatives organized and operated for the financial well-being of all those that belong to the cooperative. Therefore, each person that opens an account at the credit union becomes an owner of the credit union.

To be a member means to be a part of a whole, or an individual composing part of a group. Therefore, to be a member of a credit union is to be part of a group of people that are working together for their mutual financial benefit.

For this reason, the same people that are considered customers at a bank would be considered a member or member-owner at a credit union.

It’s one more way that the credit union difference shines through.