Most people associate banks with trustworthiness, stability and longevity in the financial world. Recently, though, with the shake down of the financial markets and the collapse of many financial institutions, some of us are starting to question if banks are the best way to store, transfer and save your money. Credit unions have been mistaken as a payday lender or an exclusive club that requires you to be a part of a union or work in a certain field to join. However, neither of these things is true. If you are considering a credit union instead of a bank, there are a few reasons to make the jump.
Accessibility and Friendliness
Big banks can seem to formal, cold and even unreachable. Others assume that branch managers do not have the authority to make the decisions to help you, or the bank itself is so big that it does not care about having your business. Credit unions can offer a friendlier tone, atmosphere, and be more accessible on every level. Being smaller and local allows credit unions to be very connected to their neighborhoods and versatile to respond to community feedback.
A Co-Op, Not a Corporation
Credit unions usually consider themselves to be financial cooperatives, instead of financial institutions. The goal is not to make more money from customers through improving interest earned, but to address this common need through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. The only standard requirement for membership is that you are part of the affiliation is serves. Credit unions offer all the same services as banks, from checking to savings, loan administration and financial advice.
It is a Democracy
Perhaps the most outstanding feature of federal credit unions in Pennsylvania is that they are member-owned and member-run. Credit unions are free to make decisions to benefit their members, instead of seeking to please some removed group of stockholders somewhere.
The ability to have a voice in decision making is a big step in the right financial direction, but something that is usually out of reach if you are a member of a corporate bank. Because profits to stockholders are not a part of the company vision, credit unions are encouraged to pass money earned on to members in the form of fewer fees, more services, lower interest loan rates and higher deposit dividends.
Free Education and Other Perks
There are some credit unions that offer fun and useful products like individual health and pet insurance and financial consultations for free. Most credit unions focus on community enrichment and financial education, with many offering free classes and advice from a finance expert, as well as other means of education to the community.
When it comes to banking services, credit unions offer the same menu of financial services that you will find in large banking corporations. If you are frustrated with unresponsive customer service and long lines, a credit union just might be the best place to put your money. It is tough to beat a place that it community- focused, friendly and offers better interest rates.