#1. Credit Unions are Not-For-Profit
One of the key differences between banks and credit unions is that credit unions are not-for-profit financial institutions. When you deposit your money at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, you’re actually buying shares of the cooperative. Rather than being a customer, you are a member owner of the credit union. Banks answer to a number of powerful investors which means they are more likely to take risks with your money and charge high fees and interest rates to ensure a profit. The interests of a credit union principally end with its members.
#2. Credit Unions are People Focused
Rather than being considered a customer, at a credit union you are member and as a member you’re a shareholder of a local cooperative. We often hear that we feel “friendlier” than the big banks, perhaps that’s because we’re not building a relationship between business and customer, but rather between partners with a shared stake. Credit unions require that you are a member of a particular group with shared interests, whether it is the industry you work in or simply the region where you live. At 1st Financial, we serve anyone who lives, works (regularly does business in), worships or attends school in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County or St. Charles County.
#3. Credit Unions Provide Community Impact
A financial institution, when built on a foundation of integrity, can accomplish great things when it’s focused on the needs of the community, and not excessive income like some of the big banks. At 1st Financial, our community efforts are strategically aligned with some of the greatest needs of our community —education, job training, and sustainable housing. It is the driving force of how we do what we do, but more importantly, it’s why we do what we do. Investing in in a credit union is about more than a checking account, it’s a way to leverage your investment into affecting real and lasting changes in your community.
#4. Credit Unions Have Better Rates
Interest rates on mortgages, loans, and even credit cards tend to be lower at credit unions like 1st Financial. Many credit unions also have less strict loan eligibility requirements and are understanding of special circumstances such as self-employment that may be unattractive to banks. Not only are fees and interest rates typically lower, but savings accounts, CDs, and bonds usually yield higher returns at credit unions.
#5. Your Money is Protected
Bank proponents sometimes point to the fact that deposits in credit unions aren’t covered by the FDIC. Credit Union savings are federally insured to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), a U.S. government agency. The NCUA administers the National Credit Unions Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), which is similar to the banks’ FDIC.
Ultimately, making the best financial choice depends on your needs and being informed about your options. Always keep in mind that at a profit-driven institution, your questions will be answered by a sales representative. At 1st Financial your questions are answered by our knowledgeable member experience specialists.
Until the next time,