However, what is the value of this ownership?
Alex Pollock, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, in a July 7, 2006 Viewpoint article in the American Banker (paid subscription) wrote:
"It can’t be sold. It has no market value. It can’t be redeemed. You can’t borrow against it. You can’t take it with you when you switch your account to another financial institution. Theoretically, you could get a distribution of any remaining net assets upon liquidation of the credit union, but if successful, it will never liquidate."
Alex points out that if a credit union does liquidate, it is because the credit union is insolvent and there is nothing left to distribute.
So, besides receiving a dividend on your share, which is comparable to interest on bank accounts, the only thing of value is the right to vote for the Board of Directors of a credit union.
But if you ask me, there is not much value there because each member has the same number of votes – one – regardless of how much business a member does with his or her credit union.
P.T. Barnum is probably smiling from the grave.