Credit unions today are the unsung establishments of financial services. Especially during the U.S. recession, joining a credit union became one of the more popular financial tips in place of advice to open an account with a large national or even local bank. Even as their popularity has grown, however, the basics of credit union functions are largely unknown to many who may benefit from such an affiliation.
Credit unions differ from banks in that they are run by members versus business people. The majority of U.S. citizens are eligible to join a credit union, and they may do so if they are willing to put in the work to get there. The minor disadvantage is a requirement for initial effort, but when it comes to financial matters, going through the application process may be well worth it.
Credit unions are simple to locate, often in town centers and on main roads, but there are many websites to assist in finding a credit union as well. These institutions work just like an everyday bank when it comes to handling money, and many offer savings accounts with more lucrative rates than major banks. Best of all, for the savvy consumer, credit unions have a history of excellent financial education offered to members. While members get better deals on personal and business banking, they can learn how to make their money grow with top-notch financial investment advice.
A connection to community
On top of these advantages, credit unions can help community members come together through mutual affiliations. Members typically aren’t linked to peers solely through their financial hub: credit unions tend to center around specific religious organizations, occupations, places of residency and other connecting factors. Due to the broad spectrum of communities that hold at least one credit union, joining one is possible for most.
“Virtually everyone in the nation could find a credit union they could join if they went through the effort,” said Fred Becker, president of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.
When it comes to investing and saving money soundly, credit unions are a no-brainer. Still, they are not for everyone, and it is important when exploring the options to choose an environment and community that fits an individual’s needs.