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3/10/2020 | Team United
Did you know over 117 million people are members of a credit union? Over 5 million joined in 2018 alone. As more people are learning the difference between a bank and a credit union, here are some top reasons why many are choosing to make the switch.
That’s right, you’re the boss. Unlike banks, credit unions don’t have shareholders. Instead, each member of a credit union owns a share of the company. That means benefits like higher savings rates, lower loan rates, and fewer fees get passed directly to you.
CEOs of credit unions must answer to a member-elected board of directors who provide oversight and co-leadership. If a member wants to make a difference at the credit union, they can run for and vote for this board.
Remember in school when teachers encouraged teamwork? Well, cooperation is at the heart of a credit union. It basically works like this: one member makes a deposit; the credit union uses that money to help another member get a loan. The cycle continues and is repeated several thousand times, and what you get is a financial cooperative that your teachers would be proud to see in action.
One of the biggest differences between a bank and a credit union is the philosophy of “people helping people.” Credit unions are not-for-profit companies, so that means profits are returned to the membership through better rates on loans and deposits, products like savings and checking accounts, and even community sponsorships investments that help make where you live a little bit better.
Plus, credit union staff are always available to help with financial advice—even when times get stressful. You’re the owner, remember. So employees and credit union leadership work extra hard to make sure you are living your best life.
Don’t worry about old misconceptions about credit unions. While membership is required, these days becoming a member is pretty easy. Most credit unions only require that you live or work in the state or community where they have a branch. Others can qualify you for membership based on your employer.
And if you think joining isn’t worth it because all credit unions offer is plain vanilla services, think again. Today, most credit unions are full-service - far beyond loans, savings, and checking. The majority offer extensive product lines as well, including mobile banking, mortgages, financial planning, and even investment and business services.
Credit unions may be right for you if you’re looking to reduce expenses and pay less in fees, leverage your money, or bank where people know and care about you. Fewer account restrictions and better earnings may also be priorities. Or, perhaps you’re civic-minded and appreciate a credit union’s community focus. Whatever your needs, it’s important to explore your options.
To find a credit union that can serve you, search the NCUA website.