Community banks fear them. Big banks think they can crush them. But over the years, the credit union has proved resilient. And unknown to most people, credit unions thrive by writing car loans.

Credit unions have a storied history. They exploded in number and size during the so-called “Roaring Twenties” (1920s) by providing banking services to average Americans who weren’t yet accepted by commercial banks. Back then, credit unions played a vital role in helping people save and borrow. Commercial banks weren’t yet interested in opening savings accounts for, or lending money to, America’s growing middle class. Read more