May I suggest a credit union?

I’ve been accused in the past of being anti-bank. Guilty. As I opined in the Indianapolis Business Journal last year, banks have ceased being our financial partners. Banks were originally created in order to help people manage their money. But this quickly decomposed into helping separate people from their money. Yes, I know. I told you I was jaded on this topic.

Banks are confused these days. They don’t know who they serve. Is it the depositor? Is it the shareholder? Is the employees? Their actions speak louder than any answers that they may provide to these questions. Something that could help clear up the confusion to this quandary is the removal of profit. Yes, on the surface this seems downright UnAmerican. But I assure you that it’s not.

A credit union is a cooperative entity that is owned and controlled by its members and operated for the purpose of promoting thrift, providing credit to its members at competitive rates, and providing other financial services. It is a NOT-FOR-PROFIT institution.

Yes, there are still fees. Yes, you may occasionally find a reason to get mad at them. But, in my opinion, there is little doubt that a credit union is there to serve its members, and its members alone. I’m absolutely convinced that if people truly understood credit unions, then they would immediately start using them.

Call me crazy, but I don’t want my money leveraged for the purpose of wild profiteering. I’m not worried about a bank losing my money. I just have ethical concerns that prevent me from enabling their financial masochism.

Agree? Disagree?

13 thoughts on “May I suggest a credit union?

  1. Perfect timing! My husband and I are up to our ears in bull dealt to us by Fifth Third and are looking to change banks. While researching, I hadn’t considered credit unions until reading your post. Given that I work for a nonprofit myself, I certainly understand the culture difference between this sector and the corporate world. Not sure why I didn’t think about it in terms of banking! Now if only I could convince my ultra-conservative husband that unions aren’t all bad………

  2. AGREE! We have been with our credit union for years. I will never go back to a bank. The services the credit unions provide for their customers really shows that they are out for our best interest.

  3. Agree Pete.

    I’ve been a member of Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union (now called Purdue Fed) since I went to college in 1999. In meantime, I’ve used banks that were more local to the places I’ve lived (Chicago and Seattle), but I’ve always been annoyed at them and eventually closed my account.

    The biggest benefit is that they don’t charge me a fee for using out of network ATMs and they also have a huge network of ATMs that won’t charge me a fee.

  4. I have often wondered about credit unions. My first experience with one has been with one of our car loans. They worked with us to refinance the car a year after we bought it and it brought our payment down about $30/month. I don’t know why we just don’t switch to them for all our banking needs. I guess I think taking all our money out of our big financial institution is a pain, especially when auto drafts & direct deposits are set up and waiting for things to clear, etc.

  5. Been a proud member of Forum Credit Union since a high school freshie. In addition to the caring staff at the branch I go to, they really show awareness to teens/college students about the importance of credit unions than banks. I also love how they are active in the community as well. They really look out for your financial needs, much more than a bank would.

  6. I completely agree. These are great points about why banks are no longer good for anyone being smart about money. I have left a bank in the past that was like this. It was one of the Big Banks. I moved to a small, local bank and what a difference it has made for caring about the customer!

  7. I’ve been a member of the Greenbelt Federal Credit Union for 12 years. It’s small, but I get more interest on my accounts there than at M&T bank! There is a great credit union search tool at plus other good information on credit unions.

  8. I left Chase for Teachers Credit Union, and I have never looked back. It was one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made.

  9. Disagree- I currently work with IMCU- terrible decision. They are sooooo very limited on their products and services (and are a bit behind on the tech scale.) I used to be a member at Purdue Federal in West Lafayette. They had awesome products and services! In sum, just like every bank is different, so is every credit union. I would recommend everyone do research and find whats best for their own personal preferences and financial situations. My husband and I are in the midst of closing our Indiana Members Credit Union Account and using TD Ameritrade as our checking/debit system.

  10. Agree. I have been very happy with IMCU for almost 29 years. We have had our main checking, savings, car loans, home equity and Christmas clubs over the years. We like the personalized service and is conveniently associated with my work. We do use a larger bank ( Chase) that we use for some of the higher tech advantages. We use that checking and credit card as our emergency fund system. It seems to be the best of both worlds.

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