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“Jason Fletcher, his wife, and his three sons live in Akron, Ohio. In many ways, Jason’s life looks a lot like what you’d expect for a middle-class guy living in the Midwest. Jason and his sons are active in the Boy Scouts. He and his wife help take care of his elderly mother, who lives with them. Jason has worked at three different banks in the last ten years, mostly in customer service roles. He now works from home, which he likes.
But Fletcher is different from a typical American in one interesting way: he’s trying to start a credit union. The financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street drove new interest in credit unions, which are cooperative, non-profit alternatives to banks, the “customers” of which are both members and owners of it.
Belonging to a credit union can have its advantages; notably, its members sometimes get better deals on financial products than they’d find at a traditional bank, since members’ money doesn’t get siphoned off to pay dividends to investors or to pay corporate taxes. And yet, the number of nationally chartered credit unions in the United States is shrinking. According to data from the National Credit Union Administration, we lost about 900 credit unions from 2014 to 2018, and, as reported in the Credit Union Journal, only a few new credit unions form each year.”
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