The Advantage Of Banking At Your Local Credit Union

by Pam on October 26, 2012

Credit Unions are unique in that each client that uses their services is considered a member and not just a customer.  Credit Unions are cooperatives so they operated differently than the regular banks as well.  Most communities across Canada have a local credit union that offers financial services as a local alternative to the larger Canadian financial institutions.

What are some advantages of credit unions?

Credit Unions are community focused.

For one, credit unions are very community focused.  So, when you become a member of a credit union, you are indirectly giving back to your community.  Credit Unions often provide loans to local entrepreneurs and they often donate a lot of their profits to local programs and charities.  While the big banks are concerned about their shareholders, credit unions are more concerned about the local communities in which they serve.

Credit Unions are informed.

While the big banks may be aware of the big picture of what is happening in the country, they are less likely to be aware of what is happening in each individual community, and as such, they are less likely to be supporting smaller events and programs.  Credit unions, however, are very aware of what is happening locally and they do their best to support local events that matter to the local people.

Credit Unions provide competitive products and services.

Many people do not realize that credit unions provide many, if not all, of the same financial services as the big banks do.  And sometimes the credit unions’ products and services are superior.  For instance, if you are a member of a credit union, you will likely notice that you will receive better customer service when you take advantage of the branch services.  You will also find that because credit unions are must smaller, you will benefit from a more personal customer service experience as you are more likely to be familiar with the credit union employees.  Some financial products are also better than what the big banks are offering, especially when you look at the many free services provided to senior members.  I also found that certain investment products offered at credit unions are better than those offered at the bigger banks.  An example would be a term deposit linked to the Canadian markets.  The credit union offered me 90% of the profits made with no risk, while a big bank only offered me 40% of the profits, and the product itself was identical.  So, by doing a little homework on my part, I was able to ensure that I was getting the biggest bang for my investment buck.

Although there may be some advantages to dealing with the big banks, I still think you should consider giving at least some of your business to your local credit union.  Take a few minutes and find out what services and products they have to offer, and compare them with what you already have.  It’s nice to know that you can give back to your local community, and you may even find better interest rates on savings accounts and term deposits at your local credit union, so it’s worth your time to check it out.  Keep note of the fees charged at both your current bank and the credit union, and select the best choice to reduce your fees as well.

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