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Credit Union Basics

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. Every member is both a member and an owner. We exist to serve our members, not to make a profit. Earnings are returned to our members in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest on deposits and lower fees.

 Checking and savings accounts, debit/credit cards, IRAs, mortgage services, insurance protection and specialized loan programs are just a few of the options available to credit union members.

 Due to credit unions' structure, we generally offer better rates on loans and savings than commercial banks. Banks must make profits for their shareholders, while credit unions exist only to serve their members. Our "people-first" philosophy is the foundation for credit union involvement in the community, charitable activities and worthwhile causes.

You could be eligible to join a credit union through where you live, work, worship or a group affiliation. To find out which credit unions you are eligible to join, use the “Find a Credit Union” link at right. 

The credit union movement began more than 100 years ago in the United States. Missouri's state lawmakers welcomed the not-for-profit financial cooperatives in 1927 by passing legislation that allowed credit unions to organize. That same year, St. Andrew Credit Union was the first Missouri credit union to receive its state charter.
 During the Great Depression, when growing numbers of people found themselves without financial resources and without options, credit unions stepped up to help those in need. The number of credit unions in Missouri - and across the country - grew rapidly during this time. 
Today, Missouri is home to nearly 150 credit unions serving more than 1.3 million members in all corners of the state. As when credit unions first started, the credit unions of today are focused on helping members achieve their financial dreams.

The credit union philosophy is "not for profit, not for charity, but for service." Credit unions look out for their members' interests and provide a level of service that is not generally available at other financial institutions. Whether it's providing a loan to help a member cover unexpected medical bills, giving financial counseling to a member whose company closed its doors or simply offering a better deal on a used car loan, credit unions make a difference for their members and the communities they serve.

Number of Credit Unions 132
Number of Branches 349
Number of Members 1,401,640
Total Assets $11.76 billion
Total Loans $6.73 billion
Number of Loans 622,182







Missouri stats are based on reports to the National Credit Union Administration on Form 5300 and are updated quarterly as data becomes available.

The Division of Credit Unions, a branch of Missouri's Department of Economic Development, regulates state-chartered credit unions. All Missouri credit unions are federally insured by NCUSIF (National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund). 

For more information on what makes credit unions unique, and how you can benefit, take a look at the 2011 Missouri Credit Union Scorecard.


Thrive By Five

Designed for children under the age of five, this program offers free educational activities and resources to help parents, and others working with preschoolers, teach spending, saving and basic money concepts.

Biz Kid$

A financial literacy initiative launched nationally in January 2008, this program teaches kids about money and business. The initiative includes a TV series, free classroom curriculum, outreach activities, a website and a monthly online newsletter targeting children 9 – 16 years old.  It is the first national public television series promoting financial education for elementary and middle school students. Since the series launched, it has aired in all of the top 75 markets, reaching more than 271 million people. According to American Public Television, Biz Kid$ has the highest recorded carriage of any children’s programming ever carried on public television, with a viewing audience of more than 1.2 million per episode. Episodes of Biz Kid$ are aired in all 50 U.S. states on public television networks.

Money Math

Designed for students in grades 7-9, this is a supplemental middle school math curriculum that teaches the importance of sound personal finance. The program works as a skills building block to equip youth with necessary tools for handling complex financial concepts in the future.

NEFE High School Financial Planning Program (HSFPP)

Designed for students in grades 9-12, this program has six teaching units designed to help students learn the financial planning process. Students have the opportunity to apply the process through exercises and assignments, which enable them to take control of their real-world finances.


Designed for students in grades 9-12, this personal finance course uses a highly interactive, reality-based Internet curriculum. The course consists of 34 "How To" modules on income, money management, spending and credit and saving and investing. The modules are designed to be approximately 40 minutes in length.

U.S. Mint H.I.P Pocket Change

Programs are designed for students from kindergarten through high school. These fun activities and lesson plans promote basic economic understanding.



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Practical Money Skills for Life

Provides classroom resources for financial literacy education for preschool through college. There are lesson plans and budget workbooks. This site also provides home-based financial literacy resources for adults, parents and children.


SIFE Teams establish a variety of community outreach programs that teach free enterprise. Groups teach concepts such as budgeting, accounting and supply and demand.


CUNA Center for Personal Finance

The CUNA Center for Personal Finance provides "do-this" information to help consumers take charge of their financial lives--regardless of their economic background or life stage.

All Ages

Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy

Provides curriculum enrichment to ensure that basic personal financial management skills are attained during the K-12 educational experience and beyond. Links provided help you search for lesson plans and information for all age groups and topics including money management, saving and investing and spending and credit.

Practical Money Skills for Life

Provides classroom resources for financial literacy education for preschool through college including lesson plans and budget workbooks. This site also provides home-based financial literacy resources for adults, parents and children

MOSAFE (Missourians Stopping Adult Financial Exploitation)

Missouri credit unions have the tools to play a lead role in ending elder financial abuse. MCUA worked with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, AARP and other financial organizations to develop MOSAFE (Missourians Stopping Adult Financial Exploitation). This program is aimed to help credit union and bank employees prevent financial abuse of vulnerable consumers. Click the link above for more .