Credit Unions: A Theoretical and Empirical Overview

45 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2011

See all articles by Donal G. McKillop

Donal G. McKillop

Queen's University Management School

John O. S. Wilson

University of St. Andrews

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2011


In 2009 there were over 49,330 credit unions across 98 countries with more than 184 million members and approximately $1,354 billion in assets. There is a great diversity within the credit union movement across these countries. This reflects the various economic, historic and cultural contexts within which credit unions operate. This paper traces the evolution of the credit union movement. It examines credit union objectives, and considers issues relating to efficiency, technology adoption, product diversification, merger, failure and demutualization. The regulatory environment within which credit unions operate is also explored under the themes of interest rate regulation, common bond requirements, taxation, deposit insurance and capital regulation. The overview also considers demutualization and the costs and benefits to credit unions of altering their organizational form.

Keywords: Credit unions, common bond, diversification, efficiency, merger and failure, regulation, technology

JEL Classification: G21

Suggested Citation

McKillop, Donal G. and Wilson, John O. S., Credit Unions: A Theoretical and Empirical Overview (August 2011). Financial Markets, Institutions & Instruments, Vol. 20, Issue 3, pp. 79-123, 2011, Available at SSRN: or

Donal G. McKillop (Contact Author)

Queen's University Management School ( email )

25 University Square
Belfast, Northern Ireland BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland

John O. S. Wilson

University of St. Andrews ( email )

North St
Saint Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ
United Kingdom

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