Like most children, I grew up assuming all adults put their money in banks to keep it safe. Parents had to work, money needed to be earned, and banks were the only place to put it. This seemed simple enough but, now that I’m older and forced to make my own financial decisions, I was curious about alternatives. Banks certainly serve their purpose, but I didn’t want to feel trapped. I was concerned about loans, safety, credit, and fees, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover the many benefits of Credit Union membership.
Bigger isn’t always better
Banks tend to inspire a sense of security because they’re larger, but that sometimes comes with its own downfalls, namely inconsistent customer service. Credit Unions pride themselves on being financial cooperatives; meaning they are both run and owned by members. Not only boosting the local economy but creating a system that allows members to be a top priority. As a non-profit organization, Credit Unions tend to generate a more robust customer service culture and focus their energy on staying connected and accessible. At Credit Unions you’re not treated like a customer, you’re treated like a stakeholder because you are one.
Credit Unions offer many of the same services as banks. Checking accounts, savings, loans and investment options are often all available. Attached to the convenience of plastic? Credit Unions have an ATM network that includes almost 30,000 surcharge-free cash machines. It’s also very common for Credit Unions to offer better interest rates, lower fees, and require a lower deposit balance. In fact, Credit Unions are more likely to offer and approve members for personal loans than larger banks, especially if you have a long relationship. According to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), “Credit Unions were responsible for saving their members almost $8.5 billion across America.”
Online banking might be growing in popularity, but so are Credit Unions. With more than 60,000 credit Unions in the US alone, there has been a noticeable member growth which has surpassed banks. Credit Unions are very appealing due to their straightforward and modest approach with fewer confusing bells and whistles but better services that concentrate on specific community needs.
Making the right move
Facing large financial decisions can be stressful, which is why it helps to work with a Credit Union that is able to offer competitive rates and help you along the way. Everyone has an opportunity and deserves to be in control of their finances. Becoming a member, as opposed to a customer, could be an extremely wise financial decision.