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Top 10 facts about credit unions

* Credit unions are not-for-profit, cooperative financial institutions, owned and controlled by the people who use its services.

* There are approximately 10,000 credit unions in the United States with over 85 million members (year ending 2003).

* The National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, which insures all federal and most state credit unions, has the highest reserve ration for any government insurance fund and is funded solely by credit unions, not taxpayers.

* The media size of a credit union is $11 million. The media size of a bank is nearly $100 million. Nearly one-half of credit unions have less that $10 million in assets (NAFCU).

* Credit unions are the embodiment of democracy -- each member has one vote, no matter how much money he or she has deposited with the credit union.

* An American Banker/Gallup survey shows that 73 percent of those who primarily use a credit union were "very satisfied" with the services they received. This marks the 20th straight year credit unions have led the survey.

* An American Banker/Gallup survey shows that consumers give credit unions higher ratings than banks on trustworthiness.

* According to a survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association, credit unions charge fewer fees and lower fees than banks.

* While banks argue that credit unions enjoy a competitive advantage because of their tax-exempt status, Consumer Action -- a national consumer education and advocacy group -- found that banks receive far greater benefits than credit unions, including significant tax advantages and numerous additional federal subsidies.

* Credit unions raised more than $5.9 million nationally in 2001 in their "Credit Unions for Kids" program for local children's hospitals affiliated with the Children's Miracle Network. Every dollar raised goes toward children in a credit union's own community.

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