A credit union account is a great way for the ordinary working class person or indeed any-one to save money and also get small loans to pay back at a small rate of interest.
They were first stated by F.W.Raiffeisen from Germany and they have spread over the whole world and are known by many different names.
This is a link to give you more details about credit unions.
When you first join you are expected to save weekly for about 3 months and this is to show them that you can save.
You can get a loan depending on the amount you have saved and then pay back the loan weekly as well as saving at the same time.
If you pay extra of your loan it means you can miss a payment at holiday or christmas times, paying the interest only.
One benefit is, that there is an insurance policy taken out against you and if you die the loan is cleared, and your partner/spouse will be paid out the savings and get a bonus.
Another benefit is, once a year interest will be paid to you depending on the ammount you have saved, you can get this in cash, take it of your loan or put it into your savings.
I have been a member for over 20 years and have saved all that time, when i want to change my car i get the money from them and then i can walk in with cash and bargin for the car.
I always try to pay 2 or 3 times the ammount they ask for to pay the loan to get it down quicker to get rid of it and save me paying interest.
They also have savings accounts which you can start just the same as a bank savings account.
Also you can start a childs account and when they get to the age of 16 they are brought in and get things explained to them and then they sign for the account making it their property.