When it comes to deciding between a credit union or a bank, it’s important to consider more than just interest rates, branch locations, and profit models. Yes, those are important—but you may want to think about the overall experience you’ll have with a bank or credit union. There are pros and cons to any financial institution, but there are also some unique experiences that only a credit union can offer.
Credit unions are co-ops (short for cooperative)—businesses that are owned by their members and don’t have to answer to stockholders. As an owner, you have a stake in the organization. For example, members elect other members to serve on the board of directors. It all comes down to the “Credit Union Difference;” putting people over profit is only one of many factors that set credit unions apart from banks.
Credit union managers and directors are members themselves—so they understand what you’re going through. Credit unions place themselves in the shoes of their members to understand and even empathize with your experience, all the way from an online chat to opening an account or applying for a loan.
3. Help with your goals
Another way credit unions serve their communities is by offering different types of financial education, so you can make a plan to reach your goals. Whether it’s a seminar about saving for retirement, personal financial counseling, or a matched college savings account, credit unions can help members achieve their dreams.
4. A common bond
In the eyes of a credit union, members are like family. Credit unions are for people who have a “common bond,” such as living in the same county or working for the same employer—so you automatically have an authentic connection with someone at your branch.
5. Community involvement
In addition to serving their members, credit unions support many areas within the local communities they serve. Credit unions provide jobs, support local business, and –because they are not-for-profit, credit unions can invest a portion of their profits back into community service events and contribute to local charities.
Credit union members talk about “the credit union difference”—if you’ve only ever used banks as your financial institution, you may think they’re exaggerating. But as the five things above illustrate, the experience at a credit union does offer something unique. Experience it for yourself— find a credit union today.