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The Difference Between Credit Unions and Banks

Posted On: February 16th, 2018

Choosing where to keep my hard earned money is just as important as choosing where my kids go to school, or the house I want to live in. There are so many options out there it can be overwhelming. As a working mother I want to make sure I am getting the best value for my time and money. I often hear friends complain about the way their bank treats them, which makes me glad I am a part of a credit union.

I bet you are wondering what is the big deal, right? Well, being a member of a credit union is like having a big extended family. You aren’t just another number. You actually own a portion of the credit union and your deposits are even called “shares” for that exact reason! You get to vote on who is on the board of directors and could even join yourself.

Unlike banks, credit unions are not-for-profit, meaning they aren’t out to make money off their members.  Profits made by credit unions are returned back to their membership in the form of reduced fees, lower loan rates, and higher savings rates providing more value for your hard earned money.

Now, you may be wondering why I keep referring to credit union users as members instead of customers.  That is because people must meet certain qualifications (pretty simple ones at that) to become members, but at a bank anyone can join. River Valley, for example, serves the counties of Butler, Clark, Greene, Montgomery, Miami, Preble, & Warren. All you have to do is live, work, or worship in one of the 7 counties.  Seems easy enough, right?

Credit Unions also are more involved in their communities. At River Valley, we will be partnering with three local charities: Shoes 4 the Shoeless, Special Wish Foundation, & 4 Paws for Ability, over the course of the year.  We hope to bring more awareness to these wonderful organizations! Credit unions also are more attentive to local businesses and their needs in their areas.

Also, since credit unions are typically smaller than banks it allows for a more personalized experience. Each time I go to make a deposit the staff greets me as soon as I walk in. Since they are more community based, they get to know their members on a more personal level.  This also allows for behind the scenes staff to catch fraud on members’ accounts as well, which helps you save your hard earned money.

Want even more information on credit unions? Check out www.mycreditunion.gov.