Believe it or not this is my third post on MITR about credit unions! Think I like them much? The truth is, I have both a credit union account and regular ole bank account right now. I started my initial credit union account when I joined my first company out of college. They had a local branch inside of the building and convenience plays a major part in banking. This particular credit union was ahead of the times and offered free online bill pay, and that was almost 8 years ago now. There are still some banks that don’t even have that service in their crystal balls yet, and most of the others are charging for it! Now as I said, I do have a bank account as well. I eventually left my company and went to another one that was quite far away from both my home, and inconvenient to any brick and mortar credit unions branches. So I chose a bank that was in close proximity to my new employer. Not only that, but they also allowed me to setup a bank account online, which 5 years ago was still a relatively new procedure for banks. I told you convenience is a powerful motivator. I enjoy my bank as well, they gave me a cash bonus for signing up, and they have the best customer service I’ve ever experienced from any company I’ve ever dealt with. But they aren’t a credit union, and as such they are unable to offer some of the advantages and benefits I’ve come to enjoy from mine. As I’m about to get married and consolidate our accounts, and form a joint account(s), I am reminded of these very simple yet powerful facts that every consumer should know.
Bank proponents will tell you that credit unions aren’t FDIC insured, and they would be right. But they are NCUA insured, which stands for the National Credit Union Administration. They are still a federal agency that ensures our deposits and accounts are covered up to $250,000 just like anywhere else.
I’m sure that you have heard about how you are a member, and not merely a customer, when you join a credit union. What is more important is that you are a member for life! Despite the affiliation, location, or qualification change that allowed you to initially join, you will always retain that membership. Since I’ve joined my credit union I’ve changed jobs four times, and addresses five times, yet I’m a member enjoying the same advantages as when I joined.
This next point is my personal favorite, you aren’t viewed in black and white. Members generally enjoy a very personalized service that you just don’t find at a bank. Specifically, members with less than stellar credit can use credit unions to their advantage. Often times they become more creative as lenders, and will extend credit, approve loans, and generally consider the person rather than the score. When I worked in the building of that local branch all those years back, the lady running the branch knew everyone in the building by name. Sounds simple enough, but sometimes simple goes a long way.