1. Free Checking
Some banks require a $1,500 balance, or a certain number of monthly transactions to get account maintenance fees waived. You may not need to make a large deposit or keep a lot of money at a credit union in order to avoid fees on checking accounts. In fact, Community Financial offers completely free checking accounts with no restrictions.
2. Better Interest Rates
Credit unions work for their members. Since their members are also the people paying for their services, they don’t have much of an incentive to charge an arm and a leg in interest and fees. Credit unions also offer competitive rates on savings accounts and CDs. Because they don’t have to pay shareholders, they can return that money to their members.
Credit unions provide easy-to-use services and real, live human beings who can answer questions, make recommendations and help you understand the complicated world of finance.
4. Lending Practices
Credit unions are community institutions, so helping people out is part of what they do. Their auto and home equity loan rates also tend to be lower than those of corporate banks. They also tend to be more willing to make exceptions for details that may not be reflected in the conventional lending formula.
5. Financial Education
Credit unions want to make their communities a better place. Part of that mission includes financial education. If you need advice about home-buying, making a budget or using credit responsibly, your credit union will be happy to help. Community Financial offers resources like our Financial Resource Center and Money Matter$ blog to help keep people on track.
Community Financial is also deeply committed to the financial education of children through our award-winning Student-Run Credit Union Program. We now operate 48 student-run credit unions, impacting more than 20,000 elementary, middle, and high school students.
6. Free ATM Network
Many credit unions belong to the CO-OP network, which provides member institutions with access to nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs. These ATMs are located throughout the U.S. as well as some foreign countries, such as Italy and Japan. If you're a member of a participating credit union, you may be able to use these ATMs at no charge. Find surcharge-free ATMs associated with the CO-OP network using its ATM locator.
Credit unions, by definition, are not-for-profit cooperatives. As a member and owner of the credit union, you also have a say in how the credit union is run. In fact, we encourage you to join us at our annual meeting on March 9th, and make your voice heard. And, if you have the time and interest, we’d love to have you consider joining our board of directors. You’d just need to submit a letter and resume, no later than August 4, 2017. When members get involved, our credit union benefits from having new people join the board, to share in advising the smooth running of your credit union.
8. Commitment to the Community
Credit unions are committed to giving back to the communities they serve. Last year, Community Financial donated over 4,000 hours and $480,000 to local events and organizations. The more members a credit union has, the more value it can provide to its membership as a whole. As a credit union grows, it can offer better services at more competitive rates and with fewer or lower fees. That’s the power of community support.
If you are already a credit union member, thank you for being a part of the credit union movement and sharing the love with us!