A study of 10,000 millennials showed the four most hated brands were banks. This is probably why many of us have turned to alternative nonbanks and startups. However, credit unions are the original banking alternative that shares many of your values.
Do you think you could join a credit union?
Millennials who have accounts with credit unions are happier customers. An industry study found 81% of millennials believe their credit union provides “outstanding customer service” compared to 59% of bank customers. According to CUNA, there are now over 130 million credit union members.
A good place to start is knowing the differences between credit unions and banks. For one, credit unions are not-for-profit. This means profit is not the sole purpose for the existence of the business. And yes, credit unions are businesses serving a need by offering financial products and services. They happen to do it differently than banks.
Why should you consider joining a credit union? Here are my five value-based reasons you should:
1. You value self-identity.
As a customer, you want to be heard. With credit unions, you’re not just an account number or a customer, but you’re a member-owner. The member-owner status gives you more say about the direction of the credit union you join.
2. You value cooperative sharing.
You’ve probably ridden on a ridesharing app like Lyft or rented a room on Airbnb. You probably also supported a crowdfunding campaign. This could mean you value cooperative sharing and support. Credit unions are financial cooperatives meaning it is owned and operated by their members. They take deposits from members and loan them to other members. You can say they were the original peer-to-peer lending startup.
3. You value community.
Credit unions are formed to serve the interests of a common group of people. To join a credit union, you must be eligible for membership by sharing a common bond. For example, credit unions serve the military community, a workplace, a church, or a geographical area. In return for your membership, credit union profits are reinvested back into the membership and the community it serves.
4. You value social responsibility.
Credit unions were formed to give access to credit and banking services to people not served by traditional banks. They offer many of the same products and services as banks. In many cases, they offer better savings rates, lower loan rates, and little to no fees compared with big banks.
5. You value your time.
We all want products that are easy and simple to use. And credit unions are investing in technology to increase convenience and ease of use. Although some credit unions are stuck in the 2000s, many do offer online banking, and mobile apps, budgeting tools, and provide access to thousands of surcharge-free ATMs.
All credit unions began with the same founding cooperative principles. However, each credit union has its own unique culture and operating procedures. Fortunately, with nearly 5,000 credit unions in the United States, you have options when it comes to choosing a credit union too. Learn how you can join a credit union here.