We understand what it is like for busy parents who are busy managing a household, taking care of children and trying to juggle a wide array of different priorities. Parents live with the purpose of taking care of and providing for their children, in every aspect of their lives, day in and day out, and they are always looking for ways to bring the overall household budget down while maintaining a high quality of life for their family.
When you choose to work with a credit union they will be able to provide a personal touch to you and your banking. This will allow them to assist you in reaching your individual and family-wide goals. Credit unions offer their member-owners with lower fees and a high return. Parents and families can rely on their credit union to provide creative solutions to all of your financial requirements.
To this day it is not unusual for many people are still unclear on what exactly a credit union is. This can lead to a lot of confusion and an overall uncomfortable feeling when the topic arises. Put simply a credit union is a bank that is owned by the people who bank there as opposed to shareholders. Credit unions were originally developed because traditional commercial banks were centered in large cities and were not concerned about being available to potential customers in distant rural communities. This led to members of said communities having to take care of themselves and their neighbors. It got to a point where farmers would pool their money and lend it to each other so that they could purchase equipment or seed needed. These farmers literally “united” in order to create an opportunity to get credit. From its beginning, credit unions were owned equally by all of the members who participated in them. Since this time credit unions have never had any mandate to make a profit from their members. Credit unions exist only to meet the needs of their member-owners and this leads to the first and most important reason that credit unions are a better choice for banking:
The technical term for a credit union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative. This means that if a credit union does end up making a profit beyond what is required to fund its operation. When this happens those profits are shared equally among the credit unions member-owners. With no mandate to generate a profit, a credit union is able to focus entirely on assisting their members-owners without having to think about whether their choices will gain a profit.
The benefit of this unique co-operative structure has become increasingly evident in recent years when several banks throughout Europe and North America were investigated for unethical or illegal sales practices that sought to extract larger fees from their own patrons. Credit unions have no reason to behave in this way because unlike these larger banks they are not driven by making the largest profit possible.
Credit unions have to charge fees for their many products and services in order to fund their continued operation. That said, due to the fact that they are not trying to make a profit, credit unions are able to reinvest their excess revenue into offering lower fees for their member-owners. Debit transaction fees from a credit union tend to be significantly lower (approximately 40%) than those charged by traditional commercial banks. The same is true of interest rates. Credit unions will always provide their member-owners with the lowest interest rate that they possibly can to their member-owners this is because they are not looking to gain a profit from that rate.
Credit unions were the first financial institutions to lend on the basis of the character of the person borrowing as opposed to simply focusing on their financial situation and credit-worthiness. Think about it, if the person that you are potentially lending to is one of the people who own the credit union, it only makes sense that you would do absolutely everything possible to help them get their loan or the product that they are inquiring about. Credit unions have the flexibility and the opportunity to look beyond a credit score and financial history. They are able to consider their member’s entire situation when assessing a loan or any other form of financial product or assistance. This makes credit unions especially effective for small business owners of all industries who may have to contend with seasonal variations in revenue or perhaps face unexpected expenses. This can be incredibly useful for small business owners because these seasonal variations and unexpected expenses can that seriously impact their credit score in the eyes of the traditional large-scale banks.
Through the ever growing Exchange™ network, credit unions are able to provide their member-owners with access to a continuously growing nationwide network of almost 4000 ATMs that are fee-free. That means that there is more than the number of ATMs that are operated by any one of the big banks. Credit unions were the first to introduce the ATMs that are now in almost every convenience store in Canada along with the first fully functional online banking platform. That platform is now the top-ranked mobile banking App in North America.
It should not come as a surprise that credit unions tend to excel at customer service. If you stop to think about it, their excellent customer service makes complete sense - everyone the customer service representatives serve is a partial owner of the credit union that they are working for.
An overwhelming majority of people who are employed by credit unions are also member-owners themselves.
This means that almost everyone that enters the building, that is spoken to by a customer service representative, that inquiries about a potential service or product are a member-owner.
And unlike traditional commercial banks, credit unions are able to make their decisions locally so that the member-owner is always dealing directly with the person who is able to provide them with the solution that they need right then and there. Perhaps the biggest reason credit unions score excel so much at customer service is that they do not have customers. They only have member-owners and a single mission to meet their needs and reach their financial goals and dreams.
Credit unions and banks are alike in that they are both regulated at the federal level and that the deposits of their customers are insured. However, that is pretty much where the similarity comes to an end.
The big banks have a mission to make as much money as possible and they make at least some of that money from their customers. Credit unions, however, have no profit mandate and exist only to meet the needs of their members (read How Do Credit Unions Make Money). It is because of this, that credit union is able to provide member-owners with lower fees, and higher rates of return. With close to 4000 free ATMs and the highest ranking customer service ranking.
This is why credit unions offer such a great way to the bank for families of all shapes and sizes. After all, we know that everyone is searching for ways to stretch every penny of their hard-earned dollars for.