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You’re tired of your bank. The additional fees are killing you. The bank is shutting down branches and carting away ATMs. And half the time, it’s online banking portal is down for system maintenance.
You’re in the market for a new financial institution. But before you rush off to the nearest competing bank, take a moment to consider joining your local credit union.
Credit unions offer several advantages over banks. And if you take the time to do your research, you just might find that your area credit union is the perfect fit for your financial needs.
Many credit unions offer low interest rates and fees on their loans, accounts and investment vehicles. Consumers, in fact, often seek out credit unions when they are in the market to buy a car. That’s because they know that their credit unions will offer them extremely low interest rates if they qualify for an auto loan.
Credit unions often boast in their advertisements that they bank with a more personal touch than do larger financial institutions. This isn’t all just marketing hype. Because most credit unions aren’t beholden to larger parent corporations, they can make more personal decisions when determining who does or doesn’t qualify for home, auto or personal loans.
Maybe your credit score is a bit weaker than you’d like. If you go to a national bank, you might fall below their standards. At such institutions, the odds are low that loan officers would be willing to consider other factors such as your low monthly debt or recently clean credit record. At credit unions, though, your loan officer might allow you take out that loan as long as your other financials outweigh your lower credit score.
Most credit unions today offer as many financial products and services as do larger banks and financial institutions. You can, of course, open basic checking and savings accounts at your local credit union. But you can also take out home, auto and personal loans. You can take out small business loans or invest in IRAs and CDs.
Banks have the habit of getting acquired or taken over by other financial institutions. Your local credit union is more likely to avoid this fate. Often when a bank is taken over by another institution, it means headaches for you: You might have to activate new debit cards or search out new ATMs. Your local branch may shut down. You increase your odds of avoiding this if you bank at a credit union.
This isn’t to say that credit unions are perfect. You probably won’t have as many ATM locations or local branches as you’d have access to if you banked at a large financial institution. Credit unions might have more restrictive hours and Web sites that offer fewer functions.
But for many consumers, credit unions are a viable choice. You owe it to yourself to investigate your local credit unions.