Note from Editors:
Credit Union offers financial services that banks provide but have more benefits to its members than banks to its clients.
by Rachel Pross
We Americans are a tough lot. We’ve spent the past several years doggedly tugging at our bootstraps, determined to rally back from the Great Recession that cost so many so dearly. We became savers instead of borrowers. We postponed large purchases, eked out those last few iffy miles on our old balding tires, pinched pennies, or simply went without. As our economy continues to groan toward recovery and the white-knuckled grip on our wallets begins to relax, now is a really great time to think about the very basics. There is value in every single dollar we earn. We were all reminded of that in recent years. That value can be maximized or minimized depending on how we choose to invest it, save it, spend it, or borrow it. Credit unions are a way for Americans to maximize that value- not just for ourselves- but for our friends, neighbors, coworkers, families, and communities.
Those of you reading this have probably heard about or seen a credit union at one time or another. You might pass them on street corners, see commercials about membership, or know a friend or two who use one. If you’re wondering what the deal is or why you should make the switch from your big bank, you’re already halfway to making a very smart decision. Simply put, credit unions are your not-for-profit alternative to the big banks, and they can save you big bucks.
Here are the highlights, or Credit Union 101:
1) Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives. They’re owned by their members (YOU), and earnings are returned to the members (YOU) in the form of lower interest rates on loans, better rates of return on deposits, and lower or no fees. America’s credit unions are owned by over 100 million members.
2) Together, credit union members save about $7 BILLION per year by choosing credit unions over for-profit banks, and bank customers save an additional $2 billion per year just because credit unions are in the financial services marketplace as a not-for-profit competitor. That competition keeps bank rates and fees in check because, believe me, they’d charge more if they could get away with it.
3) Credit unions offer the same products and services banks do but, because credit unions are owned by their members, they focus on giving you the best service- not earning the biggest profits.
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Note: Featured Image credit to frankieleon via flickr.com