June 11, 2018

107 million people across the U.S. are credit union customers or, as we like to call them, members. Like bank customers, credit union members have access to checking and savings accounts, loans, certificates, credit cards, and mortgages. This is where the similarities between credit unions and banks end, however. There are many key differences between the two that consumers will want to take into consideration when choosing a financial institution. We’d like to share with you just six reasons why you should consider choosing a credit union.

  1. We’re Not-For-Profit: For more than 100 years, people not profits has remained the operating principal behind the credit union movement. Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives that exist to serve the best interests of their members. Just like banks, credit unions offer a full range of financial products and services but they invest their profits back into the business rather than paying shareholder dividends.
  2. You’re an Owner: Unlike our big-bank friends, credit union members are owners of their financial institution. Each member has one vote, regardless of the amount of their savings or loans with the credit union. Additionally, the credit union board of directors are volunteers chosen from within the membership.
  3. Better Rates & Fees: Credit unions tend to have lower operating expenses and pass along profits to their members. This keeps fees and loan rates low while increasing savings rates. 
  4. We’re a CO-OP: Credit unions of every size are able to provide an expanded network of ATM access to members through their cooperative network, allowing members to withdraw cash at a multitude of locations, surcharge-free, as well as to make deposits.
  5. We Help Community: People Helping People is the credit union philosophy. Credit unions are passionate about helping their members and supporting their communities through volunteerism, charitable giving, and financial education. 
  6. You’re Protected: Credit unions are federally insured by the National Credit Union Association up to $250,000 so members can rest assured that their money is protected.

In the wake of recent big-bank debacles, it may be time for you to consider if a credit union is a better choice for you. To join a credit union, a person must be within its field of membership. Some credit unions offer membership if you work for a specific company or are affiliated with a particular group. Others open membership based on where you live. You’ll want to research the credit unions in your area to see which would work best for you. And if you live, work, or attend school in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Solano, Stanislaus, or Kings Counties, we welcome you to apply for membership at 1st United.