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Why Should I Join a Credit Union?

Deanie Canales
 


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A credit union is a non-profit cooperative financial institution that is controlled and owned by its members. Most people that are part of a credit union have something in common like being employed in the same company or sharing the same place of worship. They offer similar services to that of a bank, although there are very different in how the business is run and who is involved with decision making. Credit unions allow their members to pool savings, lend money to members and have a voice in the organization’s governance.

But why should you join a credit union? Obviously, there are community banks and other financial institutions that can give you the same kind of service. Here are a few of the benefits that may help you better understand what a credit union is and the services it offers.

Member-owned

Simply by creating an account in a credit union makes you a member. Being a member of a credit union also makes you a partial owner. This means that you can vote on who your want to sit on the Board of Directors and perhaps some of the policies that are up for member voting. You will also have a chance to provide some input on the kind of financial services that the credit union may include in its offerings.

Financial services selection

With your credit union, you can open a checking, savings, or money market accounts that often allow for direct deposits and wire transfers. You can also get a credit card that has low or zero annual fees with low interest rates. Apart from these basic services, credit unions also provide credit counseling, investment services, financial education, and notary services. These are things that you may not get from many banks and other financial institutions.

Lower fees and better interest rates

Members of a credit union are able to enjoy low fees on their credit cards and checking accounts. Historically, credit unions have no annual fees on the credit cards they offer and provide ATM’s in strategically placed locations that do not charge fees. The drawback here is that there are fewer ATM machines available than larger banks.

Since a credit union is a not for profit organization, it will give provide higher interest rates on savings type accounts like money market accounts, CD deposits and certain types of long term savings accounts then most other banks. These interest rates are because they attempt to just pass on any potential for profits to their members.

Excellent customer service

Because the customers of a credit union are also the members, the employees are often also stakeholders. As with other employee owned organizations, service standards tend to be above normal. Customer service for a school credit union for Council Rock teachers for example, has consistently been ranked higher than local banks in terms of customer service.

With these institutions, chances are you will benefit from the best money market rates in Central Bucks and receive great service during your transactions with its employees. Lending decisions for a 15 year mortgage rates to Yardley members and the types of checking account promotions for Newtown members are often decided upon by both residents of these communities and banking officers. The best credit union in PA is often determined by both total assets and member surveys.

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