What's the difference between credit unions and banks?

Like banks, credit unions are regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), and are subject to the same regulatory standards as all major banks and financial institutions in Australia.

However, unlike banks, credit unions are owned by their members, so they are not driven by the need to return dividends to external shareholders. Instead, profits are put back into the credit union to improve products and services, ensure fair fees, competitive interest rates and high levels of personal service.

Traditionally, credit union members often share a common interest which brings them together and provides a sense of unity.

In Nexus Mutual’s case, the membership bond is the ExxonMobil community – employees, long-term contractors and their family members. Once you become a member you can be a member for life, regardless of any change in your employment or family situation.

As a member, you have a direct say in how we’re run by voting in our annual Election of Directors. Plus all members can run for election to the Board.

What is a mutual and why are we different?

A mutual is an enterprise owned by shareholders (the members) which provides a range of services for the sole benefit of those members. The primary objective is to provide benefits to members, rather than to maximise profit. In the mutual structure a customer must be a member and only members can participate in the governance, where each adult member has one equal vote.

Credit unions, friendly societies, mutual banks and most building societies are mutuals. Australian mutuals are diverse in size, ranging from community and company-based institutions through to national organisations. While aspects of size and services may vary, they are all focused on benefits to their members. Although profit is not the focus, mutuality does not preclude the pursuit of profits in order to increase reserves, which supports future growth.

Approximately 4.6 million Australians bank with a credit union, mutual bank or building society. 

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