We always associate February as the month of love due to Valentine’s Day. It’s the second month of a new year, and love is in the air — the love for your significant other, for your friends, family, pets, and even, yes, your credit union. Like most in the industry, I am a huge supporter of credit unions. I could ramble on and on about why I love them so much (and there are a million things to love), but no one has time for that. So, what are just five things to love about credit unions?
Credit unions are owned by their members
Unlike banks who are owned by shareholders and investors, every single member is an owner at their credit union — that’s so cool! This allows the members to have a voice, attend meetings, and better understand how their credit union is being run and operated. When you join a credit union, you are not just a number, you are a member of the credit union family. The credit union is there to serve you and look out for your best interest.
We’ve all heard that credit unions are better with just the simple fact that they charge fewer fees than banks. Well, it’s true! Credit unions are known for being non-profit, whereas banks are for-profit. One of the most common fees from banks may include a minimum balance fee for just a simple checking account. This means if you don’t have either X amount of dollars in your account, or have X dollars direct deposited, you are most likely going to get a fee. Credit unions focus on their membership as a whole and treat everyone the same, from the guy who owns his own business, to the family just starting out with their first child.
They tend to see grey, not just black and white
Credit unions care for their members and know that sometimes life can throw you a curve ball (or two). They listen to you and want to help you. This is where the grey area comes in. Everyone’s situation is different, so they are more willing to work with you, especially when times may be tough. They want you to love where you do business and not stress if one month is harder than the others. Not everything is black and white, and it shouldn’t be.
Out of town? That’s okay!
Credit unions have the option to participate within the COOP National Shared Branching Network. Within this network there are over 1800 participating credit unions. This amazing program is something that all credit unions can participate in, which allows their members better access to their funds by providing access to credit union branches and ATMs all over the country. Don’t worry about having to stop by the ATM and withdraw funds before going on that road trip, because chances are wherever you are going, there is a credit union that you can go to, for free! Oh, and there is an app for that!
Talk to me like a person, not someone you are trying to sell to
Many banks require their employees to meet quotas each month, so you may feel like you’re being sold something you really don’t want. Not only does this cause annoyance with their customers, but it also puts a lot of stress on their employees. Credit unions want your business and want you to make them your main financial institution. However, they also want to get to know you as a person, know what your financial goals are, and your dreams for your future. This way they can find products and services they will benefit you and help you reach your goals. They are there to help, not just to sell you something. Credit unions care about each one of their members.
My love for credit unions is strong. I love credit unions not just as a member, but as someone who works alongside credit unions to better serve their owners. So, this Valentine’s Day I’d like to leave this article with a little poem:
Roses are red, violets are blue, credit unions love their members, and we love them too!
One other advantage is that the member can reach out to the CEO in most credit unions if they need to.
It is the experience I have had with CU*A when at Callahans. If there was a challenge or uncertainty, I knew I could hear back from the top that it was fixed, and was I ok with the response.