I’m a big fan of credit unions. We have been banking with credit unions for the over a dozen years. It started somewhat accidentally out of convenience (there is a branch in my husband’s office building) but the benefits of baking with a credit union have made us stay with them for good. In fact when it came time to open a business account for the Centsible Life I used a local credit union.
Why credit unions?
Credit unions are different than banks. When you are a member of a credit union you are quite literally part owner of the bank. This can mean you see big savings, larger interest dividends, and more. Credit unions pass money on to members by reducing loan rates on everything from auto loans to mortgages as well as providing funds for small businesses and scholarships for local students.
Where does your money go with a credit union?
Whereas big banks often send up to 97% of your funds to other areas, the majority of funds in your credit union stay within your community. Quite literally when you bank with your local credit union you are supporting your neighbors. Your dollars can become someone’s college degree or a loan for a family’s first home.
Not only are you supporting your local community (and not lining someone else’s pockets) but there are a host of benefits that you get for belonging to your local credit union. A few are listed below and I share some of my personal experience with the benefits as well.
Finding an ATM may seem difficult with a small bank, but it’s not! There are 5,000 shared branches in the credit union network and 100,000 ATMs in the shared ATM network. In addition, nearly 1,200 credit unions participate in shared branching networks across the US.
My experience: Not only can we use other credit unions for our ATM needs no matter where we go, but our particular credit union partnered with a chain of convenience stores to offer up fee-free ATM use.
Ready for some stats that may surprise you? In the last year;
- credit unions distributed more than $5 billion in member dividends and refunds on loan interest payments;
- enabled a total of nearly 44,ooo members to refinance “bad” debt within the last year;
- and helped more than 37,000 families attain higher education with private student loan financing.
My experience: Our major loans are through our credit union because they not only have awesome customer service but AMAZING rates. For instance, our credit union was a full percentage point lower when it came time to refinance our mortgage.
Nearly 4 million Americans have joined a credit union in the last two years and receive benefits like discounts on services, financial literacy classes, host and sponsor local events, and so much more.
My experience: Not only are our credit unions a friendly place to visit, but they provide classes, early start savings plans for our kids, and even helped us get a special discount on our homeowner’s insurance!
More about “Make Your Money Matter” campaign?
“Make Your Money Matter” is a grassroots campaign introduced by eight credit unions from across the country and PSCU that aims to educate a new generation of consumers about the wealth of benefits credit unions provide over big banks.
“The campaign focuses on the fact that credit unions are built around strengthening communities by providing low-interest loans and giving all their profit back to members, truly ‘making your money matter,” said Fredda McDonald, Executive Vice President, PSCU.
Do you bank with a credit union? Why or why not?
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Make Your Money Matter, in association with PSCU, though all views expressed are my own.