Credit union is a type of financial institution wherein the owners are the members. In Trinidad and Tobago, there are several credit unions. And just like in other credit unions in other countries, they are also operated by the members. As a financial institution, they provide financial services to the owners and members. Members from different groups may organize credit unions. For example, there are large companies or organizations where the employees form their own credit unions. Thus, in order for an individual to join the credit union he must first be a member of the group and second, he must deposit his money with the union. Once he has deposited his money, he then becomes a member and part owner of the credit union. In general credit unions have directors who are also members and were voted to become directors by the other members. The directors are the ones who manage or run the credit union. They make the decisions based on the principles of credit union, such as imposing lower interest rates from loans.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the same principle applies. As such, members of the credit union receive the same benefits and services, such as loans and savings. More importantly in the country, credit unions provide the same if not greater services and benefits than the other financial institutions, such as Trinidad loans and Trinidad mortgage. In Trinidad loans for example, members can apply for loans when they need money. Compared with banks, Trinidad loans from credit unions have lower interest rate. This is because the Trinidad loans from credit unions were basically designed to help the members or owners of the credit unions. Trinidad loans are offered to members who are also owners to serve them during financial needs. They can apply for Trinidad loans for business or personal use. The credit union does not impose higher interest rate from the loan because it would be counter beneficial to the purpose of the union. This is the reason why many in the country join. They know they can get lower interest from their Trinidad loans.
Credit unions in trinidad and tobago have the same stability as the other financial institutions, such as Trinidad banking institutions. In Trinidad and Tobago, the six biggest credit unions account for half of all the credit union assets in the country. They have assets ranging from $200 TT dollars to $750 million TT dollars. The top 17 credit unions on the other hand account for ¾ of the assets of the industry. One of the largest credit unions in the English speaking Caribbean is Eastern Credit, with an asset base of more than $1.5 million TT dollars. It is the only credit union in the country with its own call center and its own ATMs. At present it has 12 ATM spread across the country.