I'm a member with USAA. My membership eligibility is based on family membership.

I'm a little bit confused about what kind of company USAA is. I have the general idea that it is a company that generally exists for the benefit of its members, but at the same time, it is not a credit union.

What kind of company is USAA? Is it a for-profit company like any other bank / insurance company, or is it different somehow?


The United Services Automobile Association has a funny legal structure: it's not a corporation and has no shareholders. Policyholders and account holders are paid any profits. In that respect, it functions very much like a credit union; technically, it's structured as

a Texas-based and Texas Department of Insurance regulated unincorporated reciprocal inter-insurance exchange and Fortune 500 financial services company offering banking, investing, and insurance to people and families that serve, or served, in the United States military.


Normally a company like this is a corporation so that its owners can benefit from limited liability: otherwise, if the company loses millions or billions, any one of the individual owners / members could be held liable for paying those millions and billions! However, the Texas laws which govern them as a Texas-based inter-insurance exchange also serve to limit the liability of members.

The banking services are provided by the USAA Federal Savings Bank, which is structured as a (drumroll) federal savings bank. They also own a couple of other random businesses.

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    You use the phase "limited-liability corporation" but you should avoid that term. It confuses the term "limited liability company" (LLC) with corporations. Coporations by default have limited liability in most countries, with only rare exceptions. – Kevin Cathcart Jan 11 '12 at 22:03
  • I have edited to clarify. – user296 Jan 11 '12 at 22:33

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