Credit unions have many cousins. In 2014, cooperatives’ assets in the United States totaled $1,754 billion (B) including (1) $346 B in nonfinancial cooperatives, (2) $1,126 B in credit unions, and (3) $282 B in other financial cooperatives that were owned, at least in part, by nonfinancial cooperatives. Utilities (with $149 B in assets) and farm-related co-ops ($83 B) are, by far, the largest non-financial cooperative sectors.
And what would happen if credit unions did more business with these cousins? Non-financial cooperatives may obtain banking services not only from credit unions, but also from other financial cooperatives, like the Farm Credit System (FCS, $260 B in assets), the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (NRUCFC, $20.6 B), and the National Cooperative Bank (NCB, $1.8 B), and also from commercial banks and thrifts (which, for perspective, had $15,349 B in assets).