How are Credit Unions Different from Banks?

You have probably seen billboards around your city for credit unions, but might be wondering why they are different from banks. If you have never been a member of a credit union, here are some reasons why you might want to become one.

1) Credit Unions are non-profit.
Unlike banks, which function to benefit themselves, credit unions exist to benefit their members. As such, many members say that the service level they receive at their credit union is better than a bank. Credit union associates are more likely to be forthcoming in providing information, whereas at a bank certain information might be given only if you know what questions to ask. Credit union associates work to educate their members, so that they are aware of all the options available to them.

2) Credit Unions are easier to join than you might think.
While some credit unions have membership requirements based on where you work, there are others that are based on where you live. In addition, sometimes being related to someone who meets the requirements can be enough to get you through the door. Usually the opening deposit for a credit union account is minimal, of $100 or less. Once you become a member, even if your circumstances change you can still remain a member at your credit union. Many credit unions use the philosophy “Once a member, always a member”. So you can continue to enjoy the benefits of membership even if you would no longer qualify to be a member.

3) Credit Unions offer lower car loan rates.
One on of the biggest reasons people choose to become members is to take advantage of lower interest rates. Auto loans and home loans through credit unions are much more competitive because the non-profit status. You can save literally thousands of dollars by financing through a credit union. If you are thinking about getting an auto loan, that in itself might be reason enough to consider joining a credit union.

To find a credit union near you, visit the website, or Google the words “credit union” along with your city. Most credit unions have websites which state their membership requirements, so you’ll know right away whether or not you qualify to be a member.