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Banks and Credit Unions:  What's the difference?

Credit unions ARE different

When you walk into the lobby, or call a loan officer, what makes a credit union different from a bank or savings and loan isn't immediately apparent.

The two financial institutions may offer similar products and services. But there the similarities stop. Crucial differences exist - in ownership, in cost of borrowing money, in use of services, and in customer satisfaction.

You're a part-owner at your credit union

Credit unions are member-owned not-for-profit financial cooperatives dedicated to improving members' lives. Nearly 80 million members own 10,500 US credit unions. Money the credit union makes is returned to members in the form of better rates and services. Stockholders own banks. Banks make money for stockholders, not for customers.

Credit unions are the only democratically controlled financial institutions in the United States. You and other members elect a volunteer board of directors to oversee the credit union. The manager or president/chief executive officer reports to this board. Bank directors, however, are paid and legally bound to make decisions that benefit stockholders, not customers.

Credit unions have the best rates

Credit union price loans, pay interest on funds you've deposited, and charge fees to provide you with high-quality, low-cost services. Banks price products and services to make a profit.

You earn more on your savings-in some cases up to one percentage point-at the credit union.

Credit union loan rates also are better. Credit union auto loans average at least one percentage point less than banks' auto loan rates. Credit unions make consumer loans. Banks offer consumer loans, but really emphasize business loans.

Credit unions educate members about money matters

Credit unions routinely inform and counsel members about financial matters. We keep you advised of rates, loan sales, and financial trends that affect you. Credit unions stress financial education, providing materials and holding seminars on financial planning, car, and home buying to help you make informed buying decisions. Many banks simply advertise their rates and sell services.

Credit unions are No. 1 in satisfaction and trust

In the U.S., credit unions have been the favorite among consumers surveyed in the American Banker satisfaction survey every year the independent publication had done the study-since 1983. Just recently, credit unions took over the top ranking in trustworthiness.

Your funds at a credit union are insured up to $250,000.

Join Us! Credit unions are for everyone. But only peole who belong to a group served by the credit union are eligible to join. Members share a "common bond"-they may work for the same employer, belong to the same church or association, or live in the same community. Family members can join, too.

If you're interested in joining, CLICK HERE to send us a message.


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