Credit Union Advantages

Credit unions have several advantages over banks. If you're unhappy with your bank, list the reasons why -and then go looking for answers. You may find them at the local credit union. Credit unions offer a far different business model – member-owned, nonprofit – than an investor-backed bank focused on maximizing profit.

Customers First

When you join a credit union, you are a member, not a customer to be exploited. The focus is on you and not on stockholders. Some credit unions hold shareholder meetings where you get a say on business policies.

Lower Fees

Banks are profit centers and one of the biggest cash cows of the banking industry is in fees. Bank of America was smacked down with a massive lawsuit a few years ago for predatory overdraft fees, and many banks follow the same practice of holding small charges until a large charge hits an account, then taking that out first. As a result, instead of a single overdraft charge for one large draft, customer are charged with numerous overdrafts for small charge amounts. Credit unions are more likely to do what is best for the member than what is likely to generate the highest fees.

In addition to lower and less predatory fees, most credit unions have no hidden charges and no ATM fees (although the ATM itself might have a fee).

Interest Rates

Credit unions usually have lower loan interest rates and higher savings rates than banks. They can do that because, while they have much lower profits than banks, any profit they make is returned to the members in the form of interest.

Easier to Work With

If you have shaky credit but are a long-time credit union member with direct deposit, you may have a much better chance of getting a loan from your credit union than from a bank. They will be more open to finding a way to help.

The Major Disadvantage

There is one disadvantage or using a credit union. They are smaller, with fewer locations. Banks tend to be everywhere, but a credit union might have only a few branches covering an entire state. Unless you are close to one, you may have to do your banking online, by phone, or through an ATM. Most will belong to networked ATMs, so finding an ATM is rarely an issue, but there are likely to be ATM fees.

 

Credit Union or Bank?


 

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