Here’s a question we get a lot: what are the benefits of joining a credit union over a bank?
Honestly, we could talk about this for hours, but we won’t do that to you today! Below, we’ve outlined some of our members’ favorite benefits (in no particular order).
Check out these credit union benefits and decide for yourself if credit union membership pays!
Completely Free Checking
While some financial institutions are starting to offer free checking, usually as part of their “online only” banking, credit unions have been offering free checking options for years.
You might be thinking, “Why do banks even charge for checking accounts anyway?” Well, many began doing that to earn more money. If you didn’t follow certain requirements, such as an average daily balance, you’d be charged a fee. These fees can go as high as $12 per month!
But don’t some credit unions have checking accounts with monthly fees?
Yes, they do. Whereas most financial institutions won’t allow people with past credit or account issues, some credit unions offer their members the chance to rebuild their financial life and get back on track.
Second-chance checking accounts usually carry a monthly fee, but members who successfully manage their account after a certain period of time can move to a free checking account.
Lower Loan Rates and Higher Dividends
We’ve talked before about the benefits of getting a loan at a credit union. One of the top reasons is that the rates are usually lower than your major banks.
The lower loan rates are a huge benefit to you; they help you save more of your money over time.
Meanwhile, those higher dividends, which are essentially interest we pay you for putting your money in the credit union, help your money earn more money, which is a pretty nice bonus.
Active Community Involvement
We feel that it’s super important to give back to the community in which you work and live. That’s why credit unions put their profits back into their members and their communities.
We host free financial wellness workshops to help educate our communities on financial topics that many people are worried to bring up, like credit reports, buying a house or creating and sticking to a budget.
Beyond that, the not-for-profit mentality of credit unions really shines when it comes to community service. There are helping hands and hearts for service throughout the credit union world, and we regularly get into the community to assist with service projects or simply volunteer our time for a good cause.
More Leniency When Life Happens
A lot of our beliefs revolve around the phrase “Bad Things Happen to Good People.”
We see this a lot. You can’t help it when life happens, and unfortunately bad things happen to people more than we’d like.
Thankfully, credit unions are there to help. Our goal is to be more understanding and look at our members as much more than just a number.
When life happens, it’s easy to reach out to your credit union and let them know what’s going on. They’ll be more lenient, working with you to get on a new payment schedule or sometimes even helping with a small loan to get you through that rough patch.
After all, isn’t people helping people what life’s supposed to be all about?
Ran By Members, For Members
Companies, like banks, are run by the shareholders. They go into the meetings and help make some decisions on the direction of the company. They also profit off of the companies they help run.
You don’t vote for these people; they’re in the meetings beacause they own a lot of stock in the company.
On the flipside, credit unions are member-owned, and each member has one share of the credit union. So if you have an account, you’re automatically a member-owner.
Credit union board members are just regular members that are elected by democratic vote by the rest of the membership. The board members aren’t paid either. This ensures that members are at the heart of all major decisions that are made.
So when they’re in meetings to discuss what’s happening at the credit union, they’re making sure that the members’ voices are heard, and they’re NOT looking to see how they can get more money out of people.
Credit Unions Work Together
One of the biggest principles of credit unions is that we’re cooperative by nature. This means that we work together as one for the greater good—serving our members.
Due to our cooperative spirit, you get even more benefits! Not in town, but need to access your credit union account? That’s what the CO-OP Shared Branch Network is for!
So yeah, you can essentially use your credit union anywhere. But that’s not it! We also work together to give back to our communities. Events like charity golf tournaments have credit unions from across the state get together to raise money for the greater good.
We’re not focused on competing with each other—we’re here to serve you.
How many of these did you know about?