Credit unions look and operate differently than traditional banks, but they offer many of the same financial products. They are a great option for anyone who can’t get loans or credit cards from a bank because of their low credit score, or who wants to support their local community.
Unlike banks, which are for-profit corporations focused on maximizing profits for shareholders, credit unions return any earnings to Members in the form of higher savings rates, lower loan rates and fees and enhanced services. In addition, many credit unions cooperate with each other to provide benefits that they cannot offer alone. These include shared branching, a network of ATMs and remote deposit capture.
In addition to checking and savings accounts, credit unions may also offer money market accounts that pay a higher interest rate than savings accounts with more checking features. Credit unions also offer personal and business loans, credit cards and other services, including financial counseling.
Many credit unions have fewer branches than brick-and-mortar banks, but most have extensive ATM networks and online banking options. They also tend to offer better customer service than banks, according to a recent study.
You can join a Credit Union Hillsboro if you meet its eligibility requirements, which vary by institution. Most have membership requirements based on geographic location, your employer or the industry you work in. You can also qualify if you belong to a certain group, such as a church or a labor union. You can even join a credit union if you have a relative who is a member.
Credit unions are governed by an elected board of directors. Each member gets one vote, regardless of how many shares they own. In contrast, banks are owned by stockholders whose number of votes depends on the number of shares they own. A credit union’s board members are unpaid volunteers who make decisions in the best interests of the members. Banks typically employ paid directors and other managers.
The best credit unions offer competitive rates on savings, checking and loans with fewer fees and account minimums than traditional banks. They can also help you build or repair your credit by reporting your payments to the credit bureaus, which is important for maintaining a good credit report.
While some consumers find that their credit union offers a better deal than their bank, other people are happier with the financial products and services offered by their local bank. The best way to know if a credit union is right for you is to visit one or two. Then you can decide whether it provides the financial products and personalized service that are most important to you. And remember, even if you have no desire to join a credit union, it is good to regularly check your credit report for errors. Doing so can help you avoid identity theft and other problems that might be hiding in your file. If you discover errors, be sure to report them to the credit bureaus as soon as possible.