Regular Share Accounts
Credit unions offer regular share accounts, which are the credit union equivalent of savings accounts. To open an account, a member must buy a share. The amount of the share goes into the balance of the account, though the member usually must keep a balance in the account of at least the share amount. Share amounts vary depending on the credit union.
Credit union regular share accounts earn dividends. The dividends that a regular share account generates behave exactly like interest in a commercial bank's savings account. However, because the credit union is owned by its members and returns profits through such mechanisms as share account rates, the profit from keeping money in a share account is called a dividend.
Credit unions often limit membership using mechanisms other than a minimum share purchase. Credit unions may restrict membership to people working for the same employer, living in a defined area, making annual wages within a specific range or any other metric. Additionally, credit unions may ask for membership fees, maintenance fees and other obligations.
Investors and finance professionals occasionally refer to shares of common stock as regular shares. Publicly traded company stock is often issued in shares of common stock, which represents ownership in a company and gives the holder voting rights in electing the company's board of directors. Additionally, the majority of shares traded every day on the stock market are common shares; people usually hold common shares in their stock portfolios.