Ben and I made the switch to a credit union from a bank a couple of years ago. I really think it was one of the smartest decisions we could have made financially, and I haven’t looked back since. I think credit unions are pretty incredible. Here’s why:
Credit unions are not-for-profit, not-for-charity service organizations. They are not controlled by paid shareholders; instead, the Board of Directors is made up of unpaid volunteers who are credit union members themselves.
When you join a credit union, you become a partial owner of the institution. Each member owns a certain portion of the credit union, and actions and activities on the part of the credit union are member-controlled. This means that, instead of simply making money for shareholders, the focus of credit unions is on providing quality management of members’ money. For that reason, credit unions are able to offer higher saving rates and lower rates on loans. They also offer decreased service fees (such as overdraw charges), and in some cases these fees are even eliminated.
To join a credit union, you might have to live in a certain zip code or county or be a part of a particular company or institution (or be married to someone who is).
As far as our particular credit union, I feel like we get such an increased level of personal service; it far surpasses the service offered at a bank. They know our names and have our account numbers memorized, and they are completely helpful if we ever have a question or an issue. We’ve also spent SO much less on service fees compared to what we were paying at the bank. It’s basically been a no-brainer decision for us.
There is far more information on credit unions out there – so do some research for yourself and find out if you qualify to join a credit union in your area. In the meantime, consider this my ringing endorsement!