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Credit Unions vs. Banks

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about credit unions. For example, so many believe only an exclusive group of people who work for a particular company can join. Others feel most credit unions only have one or two branches and often don’t provide a convenience factor when it comes to conducting their transactions. And of course, there are those who feel credit unions offer less products and services than banks. Well, we’re here to set the record straight, to dispel all those nasty rumors and to show you why it’s better to be with a credit union than a bank!

At a glance, credit unions…

DO:

  • Offer Safe and Sound Banking
  • Have not-for-profit status
  • Have local owners
  • Are federally insured
  • Stand ready to lend
  • Protect their members’ interests
  • Have members

DON’T:

  • Need a bail out
  • Cost taxpayers anything
  • Participate in high-risk loans
  • Profit from your debt
  • Gamble with your money
  • Have a credit crisis
  • Have stockholders

Would you rather be a “member” or a “customer”?
Credit unions have “members”, and banks have “customers”. As a “member”, when you deposit your initial $5 in the credit union, you become part owner of the credit union. You’re considered a shareholder. Contrary to what most people believe, it’s very easy to join a credit union. You are eligible to join if you live in a county the credit union serves, if you are related to a current credit union member or if you work for a select employee group.

At a bank, you are considered a customer and have no say in how the bank operates. Banks are owned by a group of investors who expect a certain return on their investments. Therefore, banks typically charge higher fees and higher rates on loans than credit unions.

Who would you prefer to be in charge of your finances?
Most credit unions offer the same products and services as banks. They also offer branch locations, ATM locations and are part of a shared nationwide network of credit union branches and ATMs. Credit unions are governed as a democracy. The members get to vote and elect a volunteer Board of Directors to oversee the credit union’s operations.

Banks give that voting power to their investors only. Customers can not vote and are not able to be elected to the board. Customers have no say in how their financial institution should operate.

Who do you think deserves to benefit from your financial institution’s success?
For credit unions, the members are the only ones who benefit. Credit Unions by definition are non-profit organizations. Once expenses are paid and reserves are set aside, surplus earnings are returned to the members in the forms of higher dividends, lower loan rates and free or low-cost services.

For banks, profits go only to the investors. Customers don’t benefit in the way of better rates or lower fees.

Now that you’ve read the facts, there’s only one question left for you to answer:
How soon can you join Alabama Telco Credit Union?

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