Banks and credit unions are similar in one way. Both are financial institutions. But a quick survey of how of banks and credit unions operate show that there are distinct differences in three important aspects. The Vystar Credit Union demonstrates these three crucial differences between banks and credit unions. The first crucial difference is ownership. With banks, ownership belongs to either the bank owner or the stockholders. The stockholder who owns the majority of the stocks of the banks will have a greater influence on the financial decisions for the bank, whether the bank will establish a branch or not or invest in a business or not. Credit unions, on the other hand, are owned by the members. That is, a person who opens a savings account in a credit union is not a client but an owner. Thus, in making financial decisions, this person will have a vote. Unlike banks, each owner of a credit union will have one vote. At Vystar Credit Union, an owner who has a lower account balance will have a vote similar to another owner who has a greater account balance. The second crucial difference is in the handling of income. The income earned by banks usually goes back to the stockholders. This is why bank stockholders are capable of buying the newest car models. Credit unions, on the other hand, divide the income among the members. This is why the savings accounts appear to have high interest rates. Sometimes, the income is also placed as reserves so that the members can get loans at low rates. The low-rate loan is a key financial service of Vystar Credit Union. After all, this credit union was established to give such a service to provide loans to the members of the military who could not borrow money from banks. The Vystar Credit Union was established in 1952 as a financial cooperative of the military employees of the Naval Air Station Jacksonville. It was then called the Jax Navy Federal Credit Union. After one year of operation, the membership grew to 1,100 and the assets totaled $28,000. Now, this credit union is a billion-dollar financial institution and more and more people are attracted to become a member. But here lies the third crucial difference. The third crucial difference is membership. For banks, any person with sufficient money and identification can open an account. For credit unions, certain requirements must be met. Since the goal of credit unions is to have members help each other, not everyone can be accepted. For Vystar Credit Union, there are five ways to become a member. First, a person who works in any of these 15 counties can become a member. The counties are Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Levy, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Union, and Volusia. Second, any person who belongs to a club or organization that is located in these counties can become a member. Third, any person who is related by blood, marriage, or law to a member of Vystar Credit Union can also become a member. Fourth, any person who serves the Naval Air Station Jacksonville, even when stationed in a different place, can become a member. And fifth, any person who belongs to some military associations can become a member. These military associations are listed in the website of Vystar Credit Union.