WASHINGTON--()--Credit unions continue to prove that they offer consumers advantages over banks. According to the latest Bankrate survey, the average monthly fee on noninterest checking accounts offered by a bank rose a record 25 percent. By contrast, credit unions continue to hold the line on checking account fees.
“It’s clear that people today are gravitating toward true value when they’re looking for a financial institution. Credit unions offer that true value”
“It’s clear that people today are gravitating toward true value when they’re looking for a financial institution. Credit unions offer that true value,” said Fred Becker, president and CEO of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU).
Here are some of the benefits of credit unions:
- People before profits – At credit unions, members are owners and have a say in how it is operated. In fact, credit unions are governed by a board of directors made up of volunteer members. Members come first, not profits. Instead, credit unions return any "profits” to members in the form of lower fees and better rates.
- Joining/switching is easy – Find a credit union to join at www.CULookup.com. You can apply at a branch or online. Many credit unions have online forms or “switch kits” that make switching a snap. It only takes a few minutes to open a new account and transfer funds. Once your account is established, you can also implement your automatic bill payment options.
- Low minimum balances and fees – Bankrate reports that the average minimum account balance required of bank customers is $723—up 23 percent over last year—and the average monthly fee has risen 25 percent to $5.48. At most credit unions, you can open an account for as little as $5 and the majority still offer no-fee checking.
- Low interest rates on credit cards and loans – Recent figures show that average rates for credit union classic credit cards are 11.68, as compared with 13.28 at banks. Compare rates between credit unions and banks at www.culookup.com/CompareCURates.
- Convenience – Many credit unions participate in a shared branching network that gives members access to locations in all 50 states. They also offer access to tens of thousands of free ATMs nationwide, including at key 7-Eleven locations.
In addition, deposits in the nation’s federal credit unions are federally insured through the National Credit Union Administration. Credit unions offer a wide range of products, including savings/checking accounts, debit cards, credit cards and auto and mortgage loans, as well as online banking.
The National Association of Federal Credit Unions is the only national organization that focuses exclusively on federal issues affecting credit unions, representing its members before the federal government and the public.