Ownership Differences between Credit Unions and Banks

Banks and credit unions are different in a number of ways, but it all starts with ownership.

Credit Union

Credit unions like Suncoast are not-for-profit, financial cooperatives owned by their members — and they exist specifically to help meet the financial needs of those members. Credit union profits go back to members, which is why they get lower rates on loans, higher earnings on deposits and more free services.



Banks are for-profit establishments owned by shareholders. They offer a wide variety of products and services for their customers, but they’re designed to maximize profits for shareholders.

Cooperative Principles of Credit Unions

Suncoast is proud to be a not-for-profit, financial cooperative that exists to meet the financial needs of our members.

Credit unions operate under the eight principles of a cooperative, which are:

  • Voluntary and open membership
  • Democratic member control
  • Member economic participation
  • Autonomy and independence
  • Financial education, training and information
  • Cooperation among cooperatives
  • Concern for the community
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

All of our decisions at Suncoast are aligned with those core cooperative principles. When your money's in a bank, the profits on that money go to stockholders. But at a credit union, profits go to members.

Without a separate group of stockholders or private owners demanding a return on their investments, all net income is given back to the membership directly or set aside for reserves.

Since the members are the owners of a credit union, we're able to offer lower rates on loans, higher earnings on deposits and more free services.