Credit Unions: Market Niche or Market Accommodation?

Laurie Mook, John Maiorano, Jack Quarter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Credit unions, nonprofit mutual associations also called financial cooperatives, have a lengthy history. The World Council of Credit Unions reports that credit unions are found in 101 countries representing 56,000 credit unions, more than 200 million members, and $1.7 trillion in assets. This study, following earlier research in Canada that found that credit unions are more prevalent in rural communities and small towns relative to the general population and to banks, examines credit union and bank branches in three U.S. states (Arizona, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin). We find that credit union branches are strongly represented in sizable urban communities, and are more likely to be located in low-income zip code areas than banks. The data show not only evidence of a credit union niche market but also a tension between social and economic objectives, and that credit unions accommodate themselves to profit norms, what we refer to as market accommodation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)814-831
Number of pages18
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 28 2015


  • cooperatives
  • credit unions
  • market accommodation
  • market niche
  • social economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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