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Published by rdoray, 2018-03-30 14:16:33

15 Reasons en_print 2.7.18

15 Reasons en_print 2.7.18

15 Reasons
Why You Should
Only Bank at a
Credit Union

It’s All About

Copyright © 2014
Massachusetts Credit Union League
New Hampshire Credit Union League
Credit Union Association of Rhode Island

Copyright © Second Edition 2017
Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, photocopied, or
transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise, without
prior written permission of the Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc. Doing so
is strictly prohibited.

15 Reasons
Why You Should
Only Bank at a
Credit Union

Written by Paul Gentile
Illustrated by Kortney Kaiser

1. “You Are the Star!”

A credit union exists only to serve the financial needs of its
members! The word “member” sometimes confuses people.
To be a “member” simply means you are an account holder at
the credit union. The day you open your credit union account,
your “membership” begins. Since credit unions are structured as
not-for-profit cooperatives, the “members” are its owners. Unlike
banks, which have to please their shareholders by earning profits
to boost shareholder value, credit unions have no shareholders to
please—only their members. Credit unions give back to their
members by charging fewer and lower fees than other financial
institutions, and offering better loan and deposit rates. From
September 2014 to September 2015, credit unions returned
$9.7 billion in member benefits due to the lower fees and better
rates. The average member household saves $175 a year by
banking at a credit union. That’s value. As the member, you are
the star at a credit union! It’s easy to find a credit union to do
business with—simply visit

2 15 Reasons You Should Only Bank at a Credit Union

2. “Your Money is Safe.”

When it comes to financial health, ensuring the safety of your
money is the top priority. At a credit union, you can be assured
your money is safe. No consumer has ever lost a penny in a
credit union. Some people think that since they don’t see the
FDIC symbol on the door, credit unions aren’t insured by the
federal government like banks. Not true. At a credit union,
your account is also backed by the federal government and is
insured up to the exact same amount —$250,000 — as bank
accounts are through the FDIC. The only difference is that credit
union accounts are insured with the National Credit Union
Administration’s (NCUA) National Credit Union Share Insurance
Fund. You can learn about that fund here:

It’s All About You! 3

3. “You Become Part

of Something Bigger”

Credit unions are cooperatives. That’s a big deal because
cooperatives are designed to benefit their users, not outsiders
looking to make money off of them. Cooperatives have a
deep-rooted belief system that resembles, in many ways, the
principles that the United States was founded on. All of these
principles are designed to do one thing: ensure the co-op’s
members have the ability to democratically control the co-op
and are the primary beneficiaries of the co-op. That ensures the
co-op is always operating in the best interests of the members.
While there are approximately 6,000 credit unions nationwide,
there are approximately 30,000 co-ops. You’ve just become part
of something much bigger by joining a credit union.

4 15 Reasons You Should Only Bank at a Credit Union

Co-ops follow 7
common principles:

1.Voluntary and
Open Membership

Member Control

3.Member Economic

4.Autonomy and

5.Education, Training
and Information

6.Cooperation Among

7.Concern for

It’s All About You! 5

4. “Your Money is

No Good Here!”

What? Your money is no good? That’s if you’re talking about fees
of course. Credit unions simply do not charge as many and as
highly priced fees as banks. That’s a fact and that’s the reason
you will be better off than the masses of bank customers paying
excessive fees. Consider that more than 76% of credit unions
offer no-fee checking accounts; that’s twice more than the rate
banks offer.
Credit unions also have better loan and savings rates than banks.
Why? Structured as not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions
are not designed to earn big profits for shareholders, but rather
give as much as they can back to the membership in the form
of better rates and lower fees. Some credit unions also return
a year-end dividend to members. Consider that for every $1 a
credit union gets for being exempt from federal income taxes,
$5 goes back to the members in better rates and lower fees.
That’s a great deal—for you!

6 15 Reasons You Should Only Bank at a Credit Union

5. “You Can Reach

Your Financial Goals”

Did you know that credit unions are the leaders in helping
consumers make sound financial decisions? Some people
call this financial literacy, others simply call it good financial
health. Whatever you call it, for decades credit unions have
spearheaded efforts to ensure consumers are empowered to
make good financial choices. You can feel good that you are
banking with a financial institution that cares as much about your
financial health as you do! Here are just a few of the financial
literacy efforts credit unions support:

• Biz Kid$ is a credit union funded public television series,
teaching kids about money management and entrepreneurship.
For more information see

• National Credit Union Youth Month,TM an annual April event
supported by credit unions throughout the
U.S. with a focus on financial education,
and the power of savings
for all ages. See
for more information.

• CU 4 Reality™ is a
real-world based financial
education program that credit
unions and schools offer in partnership.
See for more information.

It’s All About You! 7

6.“You Get Convenience”

The average credit union might be much smaller than the
average bank, but credit unions have a major advantage over
banks—they cooperate. Could you imagine banks working
together to serve each other’s customers? Keep imagining,
because it doesn’t happen. As cooperatives, credit unions
work together to better serve more than 106 million members.
One of the best examples is in the area of convenience. Many
credit unions share each other’s ATMs and branch locations and
have created a nationwide no-surcharge ATM network and a
nationwide shared branch network. These networks are bigger
than those of the biggest banks. What does this mean? If you
are a member of a credit union in, let’s say, Wisconsin, that
participates in the nationwide shared branch network, wherever
you travel in the country you can visit a shared branch location
and do business at that branch as if you were back home in
Wisconsin. That’s pretty cool and powerful! The names on
the sign may be different, but the service you get isn’t. The
ATM network works the same way, and of course it’s surcharge-
free! To find a credit union branch or ATM near you visit,

8 15 Reasons You Should Only Bank at a Credit Union

Nationwide CO-OP Shared Branch Network

• 5,400 branches spanning 50 states, five countries
and two U.S. territories

• More than 1,800 participating credit unions
• Serves 56 million members

Nationwide CO-OP Surcharge-Free ATM Network

• 30,000 Surcharge-Free ATMs

It’s All About You! 9

7. “You Stay on

Main St. Not Wall St.”

Derivatives. Hedge Funds. Complex Mortgage-Backed
Securities. No it’s not a foreign language, it’s the language of
Wall St. and while Wall St. isn’t always bad for America, greed
is. Greed and striving for profits led to the housing collapse that
spiraled the country into a downward economic cycle that is
still being felt years later. Big banks were at the heart of these
problems. Credit unions were not. Credit unions do not mix on
Wall St. and they do not stretch their members’ wallets too thin
to put them in loans they cannot afford. At a credit union, you
are firmly planted on Main St., not Wall St.!

10 15 Reasons You Should Only Bank at a Credit Union

8. “You are in Control!”

Credit unions are democratically controlled by their members.
That means, as a member, you have a say in the direction of the
credit union.

Ever feel you’ve been held hostage by a big company that
changes policies that hurt consumers? If so, you should bank
at a credit union where you can have a voice in who sits on
the board of directors and sets those policies. Obviously, most
members don’t want to get involved in how the credit union is
run, but isn’t it nice to know you have a strong voice if you see
things moving in the wrong direction!

Rest assured these board members aren’t sitting on the board
because of a big payday or lavish perks. Most credit union board
members are unpaid volunteers! They volunteer their time to
ensure the credit union is doing all it can for you, the member.

It’s All About You! 11

9. “You Can’t Get Rid of Us!”

A common misconception about credit unions is that if you leave
your employer, your place of worship or your community, you
will no longer be able to bank at your credit union. Not true.
Unless you do something to cause harm to the credit union,
once you are a member, you are always a member! You can
be assured that as long as your account is maintained in good
standing, your credit union will be with you wherever life takes
you. Also, if you move far away from your credit union, that
doesn’t mean your credit union can’t continue to serve you.
Credit unions are leaders in remote delivery services, such as
mobile banking and online lending applications. You can take
your credit union with you!

12 15 Reasons You Should Only Bank at a Credit Union

10. “Your Wallet Size

Doesn’t Affect Your Say!”

Credit unions are the purest type of financial cooperative,
guaranteeing one vote per accountholder. At a big bank, the big
shareholders carry the most votes to influence the direction of
the bank. At a credit union, whether you have $50 or $50,000 on
deposit, your vote is counted equally. This ensures no account-
holders have greater influence on the direction of the credit union.

It’s All About You! 13

11. “You Are Making a

Smarter Choice!”

Credit unions are “a smarter choice” for your banking needs
so it’s unfortunate that many consumers still don’t know what
a credit union is. Some think that credit unions are only for
government workers or people who work for a specific company.
Not true! You can’t join every credit union, but there is a credit
union for everyone! Many more people are waking up to the
power of credit unions. In 2015, more than 3.5 million consumers
joined credit unions! Across the country there are now more than
106 million credit union members that together have more than
$1 trillion on deposit with credit unions. If you want to bank with
an organization that you can trust has your best financial interests
at heart, it’s time to make a smarter choice and bank at a credit
union. To find a credit union that you can join, visit,

14 15 Reasons You Should Only Bank at a Credit Union

12. “You Aren’t Costing

Your Neighbor Any Money”

Some of the reasons to bank at a credit union aren’t all about
dollars and cents like better rates and lower fees. Some reasons
go much deeper than that. Consider that the banking industry
has been bailed out by you, the taxpayer, on more than one
occasion and you may not even have a bank account. Credit
unions have never been bailed out by the government and have
never had to be rescued at the hands of taxpayers. That goes
hand in hand with the credit union mission of financial health
and financial literacy. Credit unions practice what they preach!

It’s All About You! 15

13.“You Are

Just a Number!”

And that number is No. 1 at a credit union. Credit unions have
consistently scored top rankings in customer service for banking,
in consumer polls. Numerous annual customer service surveys
show credit unions beat banks in customer service. At a credit
union you just have to get used to being No. 1!
There are too many survey results to list here. See the appendix
for how credit unions outshine others in trust and service.

16 15 Reasons You Should Only Bank at a Credit Union

14. “Your ‘Network’ Just

Got Bigger!”

More often than not you have a much better chance at a credit
union than a bank of knowing your fellow members. That’s
because credit unions serve people with a similar “common
bond.” Where you live, work or worship will determine which
credit unions you can do business with. So let’s say you join
a credit union that serves your town or your county, there’s a
good chance you’ll know some of your fellow members. If you
do business with a credit union that serves your place of work
or worship, you are almost certain to know some of your fellow
members. Who cares? Since credit unions are not about profits,
but about serving members’ financial needs, you will quickly find
being a member brings a feeling of community and opens up
networking opportunities. Your credit union can help you grow
your personal and business networks!

It’s All About You! 17

15.“Your Values Matter”

More and more consumers want to do business with values-
based organizations. Whether going green for the community or
supporting philanthropic causes, consumers of all ages want to
help make the world a better place. Credit unions are the right
fit for values-based consumers who want to be assured they are
doing business with an organization that cares. Consumer trust
in credit unions is double that of banks. Credit unions, by their
very structure, stay out of the greed game, promote financial
literacy and education, are good stewards in their communities,
and adhere to a set of cooperative beliefs that center around
promoting the greater good of their membership and local
communities. Yes, values and banking can go hand in hand.
It’s called a credit union. If you are not part of the credit union
cooperative system, find one you can join at

18 15 Reasons You Should Only Bank at a Credit Union

Why I Love My Credit Union

We would love to hear from you!
Please post a message on our Facebook wall,

It’s All About You! 19


Credit Unions Rank High In Service
and Trust

Survey after survey ranks credit unions as some of the most trusted
organizations in the country as well as tops for service. Here are
some results:

“Credit unions remain best-in-class for financial services and set the
bar for customer satisfaction among all service industries covered by
the American Customer Satisfaction Index.”

Credit Unions in Top Spot, according to Foresee Online Satisfaction
Report. See

Credit unions are among the highest-rated services evaluated by
Consumer Reports, with 93% of credit union customers highly
satisfied, on average, vs. 69% for the four biggest national banks.
That satisfaction is driven by good customer service; not surprising
when you consider that credit unions are owned and managed by
their members. See

Trust in credit unions has remained high at 60% among Americans,
according to CUNA’s 2015-2016 National Member & Nonmember

Credit unions were rated No. 1 in a survey of 5,000 consumers asked
to rate the reputation of 34 business sectors in a study conducted by
Denver-based Prime Performance. See

20 15 Reasons You Should Only Bank at a Credit Union

7 Fast Credit Union Facts

1st CU in America
1908 – Manchester, NH

1 3in Americans

CUs save member CUs are member-
households owned
$175 per cooperatives
year (avg.)

the amount of taxpayer bailout

$0 money credit unions have received
CUs #1 100in their -year history

in satisfaction surveys

CUs can share branches and ATMs
for nationwide convenience

About the Author

Paul Gentile is president of the Cooperative Credit Union Association,
Inc. He is chair of the Credit Union National Association’s Examination
and Supervisory Subcommittee and a member of the board of directors
of America’s Credit Union Museum in Manchester, NH. He is the former
publisher and editor of the Credit Union Times and former president
of the New Jersey Credit Union League.

Cooperative Credit Union Association, Inc.
845 Donald Lynch Boulevard
Marlborough, MA 01752
P: 800.842.1242 or 508.481.6755
F: 888.777.0433 or 508.481.3586

CCUA website:
Follow CCUA on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
Follow Better Values. Better Banking on Facebook

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