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Learning-Center

Five Reasons People Love Credit Unions

Credit unions may look a lot like banks at first glance since they both offer checking accounts, car loans, student loans and other financial products you need, but these member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperatives offer some major differences and big benefits.

Credit unions provide affordable, everyday banking and loan solutions for millions of people, serving those who share a common connection like living in the same community or working for a certain employer. While credit unions once had limiting membership requirements, the great news is that now just about anyone can join one! Don’t miss out!

Credit Unions Are Member-Owned, Not-For-Profit Entities

Unlike a bank, there are no outside investors or stockholders at a credit union. That means all profits can go straight back to members’ pockets or be invested to benefit the members and communities the credit union serves.

When you open an account at a credit union, you’re not a “customer.” You’re a member-owner. That’s why regular savings accounts are called “share” accounts – they establish your membership and represent your share of the credit union. While this amount is typically low (as low as a $5 deposit in some cases) being a part owner in your financial institution is a big deal.

Member-owners of the credit union elect their board of directors, typically volunteers, to help govern the organization. Credit unions are democratically controlled with each member getting one vote, regardless of how much they have on deposit. This is just one of the differences that make being a credit union member something special.

Read on to learn more about the most popular benefits credit unions offer and why people around the world love them.

1. Higher Savings Rates and Lower Loan Interest Rates

Everyone loves saving money! That’s why so many people are drawn to the lower loan interest rates and higher savings rates most credit unions offer.

A credit union’s not-for-profit structure means it can offer better deals on the financial products and services members need – saving the average member household hundreds of dollars each year or thousands over the term of their lower-rate loan!

Make credit unions your first stop when considering other types of loans, too. From car loans to mortgages and business loans, you may be surprised by how much more affordable your local credit union’s offerings are compared with traditional big banks.

Want a better deal on a student loan? Compare the rates your local credit union offers with the big banks to see how much you could save! Our easy online tool can help

2. Fewer Fees Overall

No one likes having unexpected fees hit their account and wipe away their hard-earned savings.

Credit unions tend to offer fewer fees, such as:

  • Free checking with no monthly maintenance fees
  • Surcharge-free ATM network access
  • Automatic transfers from savings to cover overdrafts
  • More affordable fees for wires, non-sufficient funds and more

If you’re still paying a monthly service fee for your checking account, consider switching to a credit union.

3. The Friendly, Caring Service You Deserve

Credit unions aren’t just known for their money-saving products. Members love their credit unions because of the friendly, caring people who serve them every day.

The credit union mission to serve and “people helping people” philosophy creates an atmosphere where members are respected and often treated like family members. Many members share stories about how credit union representatives had their best interests at heart, saving them thousands of dollars by refinancing higher rate loans or guiding them through major financial events.

If you’re looking for someone who will listen and work with you to help improve your financial health, look no further than your local credit union.

4. Financial Education

Credit unions exist to benefit their members and communities. Providing financial education programs is a natural part of the cooperative mission. In fact, providing “Education, Training & Information” is one of the cooperative principles for credit unions.

From free online tools and resources to one-on-one financial counseling and formal education programs for adults and children, credit unions are taking a leading role in helping their members and communities move financial education forward.

5. Community Impact

“Concern for Community” is another cooperative principle that guides credit unions. This takes many forms from charitable donations to active volunteerism and even large-scale community revitalization partnerships. Employees are often encouraged to give back through paid volunteer time and community event participation, while members can get more involved by donating to the credit union’s foundation or non-profit community partners.

Regardless of the approach, credit unions across the country are working for the sustainable development of communities, including people of modest means. As a credit union member, you can contribute directly to this positive community impact through your active participation.

So, what are you waiting for?

If you’re not already a credit union member, now is a great time to find one that you’re eligible to join and start experiencing all the advantage membership has to offer. You could save hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, through your credit union membership thanks to lower interest rate loans, higher savings rates and fewer fees.

Ready to get started? Use our credit union finder tool to quickly and easily search for credit unions you’re eligible to join, compare current loan rates and even apply online for a student loan and credit union membership at the same time!

Learn even more about credit unions at https://www.mycreditunion.gov/.
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*APR = Annual Percentage Rate

In order to apply for a loan, you must first pick an individual credit union from which you wish to borrow. You can apply for the loan without being a member of the credit union you select, but you will need to become a member of that credit union in order to receive a funded loan. Therefore, it's important that you select a credit union that you will be eligible to join. Credit union membership requirements can include where you live, work, or attend school. Results are based on membership criteria provided by individual credit unions and do not imply a guarantee regarding accuracy or eligibility to join the listed credit union(s).

Calculations are based on the lowest possible rate and available repayment terms per lender. Rate estimates are based on credit information entered by the user and will not impact your credit. During the application process, a hard credit inquiry will be performed to provide exact rate information. Repayment calculations assume immediate full repayment. View the full range of rates and terms by visiting your credit union's website using links listed for each credit union above.

Using the free student loan refinance calculator does not constitute an offer to receive a loan and will not solicit a loan offer. Any payments and savings will depend on the actual amounts for which you are approved, should you choose to apply. This calculator is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as financial advice. Always consult your credit union or financial advisor when making your decision.

IMPORTANT NOTICE for refinance borrowers: By refinancing federal student loans, you may lose certain borrower benefits from your original loans. These may include interest rate discounts, principal rebates, or some cancellation benefits that can significantly reduce the cost of repaying your loans. Please review this important disclosure for more information.

Your actual rate within the range stated will be disclosed upon approval. Student borrowers may apply with a creditworthy cosigner which may result in a better chance of approval and/or interest rate.