Common Misconceptions About Credit Unions

Young woman and her mother talk with a female bank employee about a student loan.

Do you have preconceived ideas about why a bank may be better than a credit union? Do you think credit unions can’t offer the same services, accessibility, and technology as banks? It’s time to clear up common misconceptions about credit unions.

Credit unions and banks offer financial services, so why pick one over the other?

According to the latest published statistics,1 there are over 139 million credit union members in the United States. Globally, there are over 400 million members in 98 countries. The trend in membership has steadily increased. Why is that? It could be because consumers want to conduct their financial transactions with institutions that serve and give back to the community. Or because the not-for-profit status of credit unions means members benefit from lower fees and better rates.

Let’s expose some of the misconceptions about credit unions.

  1. Credit unions are only for local banking. Although most credit unions do not have branches outside a given geographic area, most are part of a Shared Branch network. This allows members to conduct in-person transactions nationwide at over 6,000 shared branch locations. That’s more branches than any national bank. This, combined with a national network of feeless ATMs, gives you the freedom to conduct financial transactions nationwide.
  2. I don’t qualify for credit union membership. Today, many credit unions allow people to become members without meeting the criteria usually required for membership. Many credit unions will allow membership if you contribute as little as $5 to the credit union’s named charity.
  3. Credit unions are not high-tech. Like banks, credit unions offer 24/7 banking through online and mobile apps. You can bank at any time from anywhere in the world.
  4. Credit unions are not as safe as banks. Credit unions are regulated and insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).  The NCUA insures all member deposits up to $250,000. This makes credit unions just as safe as traditional banks.

Now that we’ve debunked some misconceptions about credit unions, listed below are some highlights of credit union membership:

  1. Better rates and lower fees. A credit union is a not-for-profit. This means any profits are reinvested into the credit union, allowing for higher rates on deposits, better rates on loans, and lower transaction fees (if any).
  2. Personal customer service. Customer service is a priority with credit unions as account members also own the credit union. This, combined with a commitment to education and people before profits, makes customer service a hallmark of credit unions.
  3. Community Focus. Credit unions invest in the local community. They reinvest in the community’s future by giving back to the community, offering financial education programs, and implementing charitable initiatives.

Visit one of our locations or contact us today at (888) 932-8148 and find out why a credit union may be the right fit for your financial needs. You’re Always Welcome!


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