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Consumer Blog

5 Reasons Credit Unions are Good for Your Community

January 29, 2024 6:13 am

Credit unions are an excellent alternative to big banks for lots of reasons other than higher interest rates on savings accounts. As not-for-profit financial cooperatives, promote community involvement and financial literacy, making them a valuable resource for small businesses and individuals alike. Here are five key benefits of credit unions and why they make a great choice for your financial needs.

Good for your Community

Everyone wants to be a good neighbor. To do so, you might keep the front yard tidy, pack away the Christmas decorations (before February!), and wave to other residents as they drive by in the morning. How you spend your dollars can also affect the local community — Eating breakfast at the local diner, choosing artisan breads from the bakery down the street, and purchasing raw honey from a local farm are behaviors that are not only trendy but sustainable. Did you know you can have a similar impact when choosing a financial institution? Your local credit union is another reflection of “Main Street,” both in how they operate their institutions and their outward efforts to give back to the communities they serve.



Many people do not realize that on the operations side, a credit union is a not-for-profit institution. Think of a credit union as a financial co-op where profits are returned to the members in the form of low or no fee services, higher interest rates on savings and lower loan rates. Many credit unions also offer financial literacy programs and financial planning services at no charge to their members. All of a credit union’s members benefit from its success. In fact, in 2022, this totaled $30.0M in financial benefits to Montana’s credit union members.


Small Business Advocates

Credit unions are valuable resources for small businesses that may be overlooked by larger banks. As nonprofit organizations focused on helping those in need, credit unions offer various loan options for small businesses like emergency loans up to $5,000 and short-term cash advance/payday alternative loans up to $2,000. By joining a credit union, individuals can access these loan opportunities and support the growth of small businesses in their community.

When you choose to use a credit union for your financial services, your dollars are invested back into your community in the form of small business loans and the support of “Main Street” not “Wall Street.”


Community Involvement

Credit unions embrace community involvement efforts as part of their cooperative philosophy. Montana’s credit unions are a great example.

One way credit unions impact kids and their families across Montana is through the Credit Unions for Kids program — raising funds for Shodair Children’s Hospital. In 2021, Montana’s Credit Unions committed to raising $50,000 over the next five years for Shodair’s Capital Campaign for their new hospital in Helena, Montana. CU4Kids Committee members will be asking credit unions to get involved in a number of fun events to raise funds. Since then, Montana’s credit unions have raised over $87,000!

For more stories of credit unions making the #CUDifference in their communities, be sure you’re following us on social media (links at the bottom of this page).


Dedication to Financial Literacy

Managing your finances is important at any age, but how do we get that message across to teenagers when they are just beginning to generate income? Teaching good spending habits early is a fruitful life skill, and Montana’s Credit Unions support parents in their efforts by hosting Financial Reality Fairs at various schools around the state. At these fairs, students are given a hypothetical life scenario, where they choose a job and are given various expenses like a spouse, children, a house and a vehicle. The students must then work out how to manage their expenses within the designated salary from their career of choice. Many of them come away from the fairs with a new perspective on life’s expenses and managing a household budget.


The Best Part: Everyone Can Get Involved

The best way to get involved with the community activities we’ve talked about here is by becoming a member at a credit union yourself. Find your perfect fit with one of Montana’s outstanding credit unions, and make an appointment today.

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