Why Join a Credit Union Instead of a Bank: Top 14 Benefits

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Credit unions are often an overlooked option when it comes to finances. 

People typically look to banks because of their marketing. However, there are many benefits that credit unions have that a bank may not. 

It is a viable alternative, and the top benefits of joining a credit union is the better option for many people.

In this blog we will talk about 14 benefits of joining a credit union instead of a bank.

Let's get started!

 

1. Credit Unions Are Not For Profit

While banks are there to serve their customers, they are businesses first. They have to do things in a way that affects their bottom line positively.

At times, this creates a conflict of interest as they may be promoting programs or products that benefit them more than a customer. Being in a credit union gives members a bit more control.

 

To join a credit union, people have to become members. 

 

Credit unions are not-for-profit organizations. There is no bottom line to seek and no corporate executives to please. 

Every decision is from a member voted board of directors. There is a democracy and a sense of control with a union.

A member’s vote carries equal weight, regardless of how much money they have deposited. A member can vote for people in governance that can carry out the best decisions on their behalf.

 

2. Low Fees or No Fees At All

Fees are usually present to help with banks’ profits. 

Credit unions who don’t need any profit distribute them to members in several forms. They can be investments or additional savings.

The only time that any other fee is necessary is if the union needs to raise money for a goal.

As there is no need for fees, we can offer higher returns than most national and traditional banks. Someone can take a loan from us or go into a savings plan with better results. 

There are even cases where members won’t need to pay any additional fees at all. On average, the rates are much better than at a bank.

 

3. Putting Members First

Instead of looking for profits, credit unions focus on member experience. We can provide the best support and customer service because we don’t need to think about any profit targets.

As such, our policies are always for the benefit of our members. For example, it’s possible to get loans at a lower credit score.

Credit unions are also more forgiving on overdrafts. We understand if our members encounter a life-changing event that affects their finances. 

We’ll find the best deal and work with their situation.

 

4. Better Interest Rates

Not only do we provide lower fees for members, but we also have better interest rates. 

What makes traditional loans hard to pay is high-interest fees. They’ll take up a chunk of borrower’s payments before they even hit the principal. 

There are even cases where the loan agreement states that the interest will accrue, making it easy for someone to spiral into debt.

The goal of the interest rates for credit unions like us is to help keep things running optimally.

  • The payments you make will always go into something that benefits every member. 
  • We also offer programs like higher discounts if you set up automatic payments. Many of those who’ve tried us for loans have not looked back to relying on banks.

 

5. Use the Latest Technology

While credit unions have the same services banks have, they have more freedom to use the latest technology. It helps them get the edge and provides an innovative experience. 

Some credit unions use mobile apps and online services much like banks. Some of the other technology they use include:

  • Electronic applications
  • Electronic bills payment
  • Electronic authentication
  • Remote deposits

While the technology may not be on the cutting-edge level of some institutions, they do the job well. They provide enough of what you’ll need to keep things up and running with your finances.

 

6. Join a Community

Another advantage of being in a credit union is that you become a part of a community. Members are always looking out for each other, and the staff is working for your benefit. 

Many of those who connect due to the credit union can even become business partners and the like. It’s also because of the culture of credit unions that focuses on its members, which helps people feel like they are part of a community.

Whenever you need help, you can ask anyone in the credit union. You can ask questions, ask for some guidance, or look for the services available.

 

7. Convenience

Most credit unions are easily accessible near your community. Because of this, it is easy to go to them if you need any immediate help.

 

It’s also easy to access an ATM or other branches as unions have local and national partners.

 

You don’t drive long, nor wait in long lines because of the large crowds that big banks often draw.

The convenience means that you save time. Combine that with the best deals, and you are getting your money’s worth with a credit union.

 

8. Insured Finances

Credit unions like us have insurance plans to protect your money, akin to the FDIC. We are under the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). 

It ensures the money within the union up to $250,000. You won’t have to worry about issues of fraud or theft.

 

9. Learn Money Management

We are out to educate our customers in everything they need for financial well-being. There are many money management programs available that cater to different ages. 

You can also take lessons on other topics if they are a part of the union’s initiative. We’ll work at your pace and make sure that you come out with new, beneficial knowledge.

 

10. Lifetime Membership

No matter the reason you joined a credit union, you will retain your membership forever. Some members joined because they were part of a job or organization.

Even if they leave that job behind, they’ll still be a part of the credit union. You won’t have to worry about anything that could suddenly revoke your status or membership.

 

11. Equal Standing

You have as much say as the one with the most finances with the credit union. Your vote matters, and your decisions can sway changes for your benefit in the organization.

It does not matter whether you have $100 or $100,000; we care for each member equally.

No one calls the shots more than all the members put together.

 

12. Lower Barrier of Entry

You spend many years developing a good relationship with traditional lenders. Then you find that you're still bound by strict eligibility requirements. 

It keeps you from getting the best deals and qualifying for the best they have to offer. Even a minor hit to your credit due to unexpected circumstances can turn things sour fast. 

The same is not true for credit unions.

  • Credit unions are all-inclusive and want everyone to be a part of it. Many people don’t know that it’s easier to get into a credit union than banks with stricter requirements. 
  • They can also gain access to loans and better savings plans even at a lower credit score. There are still rules, but they are not as strict.

 

13. No Government Bailouts

Reliance on large corporations with government backing is only increasing taxes. Not only that, they are putting tax money into companies that are failing instead of something beneficial.

 

We do not need to rely on a government bailout to function and flourish. These deals often end up hurting more people than they help.

 

The safety net isn’t fixing the issues many traditional lenders have. 

It creates an artificial environment where some companies should not survive, but they do. We’ve been here for many years because we understand how finances work, and we know how to help our members.

 

14. Standing By Core Values

We say what we mean, and we walk the talk. Even the largest banks can change their long-standing stance to protect themselves and their interests. 

121 Financial Credit Union believes in making money work smarter. We’ve created opportunities for members to gain without getting stretched thin.

Many credit unions have good reputations because they operate within their core values. Not only that, the governance system makes sure that it is reflective of what its membership wants.

 

What Are You Waiting For?

As a part of a credit union, you’re not just a number, nor are you part of a bottom line. You can have the same services in a credit union as you would with others. 

The best part is the service and community as well as even better benefits than traditional programs. The benefits have a greater weight, swaying many to credit unions and reaping the rewards.

If you’re interested, contact us at (904) 723-6300. Whether you're growing a business, building credit, or want to buy that dream home, you have an opportunity here. Our team of financial advisors and experts can help you get to the place you want to be.

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