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The Best Financial Institutions You Don’t Know About

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What can you almost always find in every village, town and city across the nation? Banks. But most people don’t know there’s an alternative to traditional banks that can save them money: credit unions (CUs). Yet despite the advantages the latter have over the former, a lot of people don’t use one.


The answer is simple: People know what a bank is. No matter if the rates or quality of service are poor, people still put their faith in those for-profit institutions. Even if a given credit union is better in every way, most folks aren’t aware they could probably benefit greatly from it.

The Bottom Line

CUs often use excess revenue to offer lower rates on loans and higher rates on savings products to their members. A great example is Consumers Credit Union’s Rewards Checking, which is a free checking account that offers up to 5.00% APY* to its members. There are no monthly or annual maintenance fees, and members can get paid up to two days early with Early Direct Deposit.**

An award-winning account such as this can be offered because money is being kept within the organization and its members – the not-for-profit model works to benefit them, which drives the stability and success of the credit union.

The Credit Union Advantage – How It Works

Credit Unions are not-for-profit financial institutions that typically offer the same products and services banks do. There are a few key differences, however:

  1. Being not-for-profit, CUs don’t have shareholders to appease with the posting of profits, and they don’t give big executive bonuses from that profit pool. Instead, CUs puts excess revenue back into the organization, which usually leads to better rates for members on loans and savings products.
  2. CUs consist of members, not customers. That means if you join a credit union, you own a piece of it and your voice matters!
  3. CUs have a volunteer – not paid – board of directors that is experienced and passionate about the mission of credit unions.
  4. CUs typically have a low barrier for membership. In the case of Consumers Credit Union (CCU), for example, you’d join Consumers Cooperative Association for $5… which gets reimbursed. You’d then apply for CCU membership.
  5. CUs are often a good option for those who are struggling financially, as the mission of many CUs involves helping people live a better financial life.

The Choice Is Yours

While select credit unions cater to specific groups, such as members in a certain trade, many will welcome you with open arms. While several are limited by region, a few (like CCU) accept members from across the country. Being a member doesn’t involve hidden catches, big fees or surprise commitments – but you might find yourself wondering why you didn’t join one before!

*CCU’s Free Rewards Checking account is a tiered rate account. Please see all terms and conditions on qualifying rate tiers. APY = Annual Percentage Yield.  No minimum balance required.

** Early Direct Deposit: Early fund access depends upon your employer sending us a notification of the paycheck ahead of the scheduled deposit date. For this reason, we cannot guarantee early deposits in all cases.