Credit unions help consumers reach their financial dreams through its people helping people philosophy. Respondents in a 2017 Consumer Survey don by the Ohio Credit Union League were asked what they found to be the most significant difference between credit unions and other financial institutions. Here were the results:
- 35% of respondents: lower interest rates on loans
- 34% of respondents: fewer and lower fees compared to other financial institutions
- 24% of respondents: credit unions are member-owned, with profits going back to benefit members
Credit unions are known for their service-centric model, and 90 percent of the respondents to the League’s survey rated the service they received from credit unions as “outstanding.” The American Customer Satisfaction Index consistently shows credit unions deliver excellent service to members. The most recent report, on its 100-point scale, ACSI said credit unions received an overall score of 82, up from 81 the previous year.
The World Council of Credit Unions data indicates there are 231.2 million credit union members worldwide who belong to 68,880 credit unions in 109 countries. According to the Credit Union National Association there were 110.6 million members of 5,812 credit unions in the United States as of June 2017.
In Ohio, the state’s 284 credit unions serve 2.9 million members. According to a CUNA’s Member Benefits Index, by choosing a credit union as their financial institution, those members received more than $206 million in direct financial benefits in the past year.
Credit unions serve a common field of membership based on characteristics such as a geographical area, employee groups, or membership in an organization. Every resident of Ohio is eligible to join a credit union, and deposits are protected by the federal government’s National Credit Union Administration insurance or the private American Share Insurance. So, if you’re trying to decide on a financial institution, keep the following in mind:
- Do your research: Online reviews, consumer surveys, and regulatory agency reports are all good resources to find out how financial institutions treat consumers and how business is conducted. The FDIC (banks) and NCUA (credit unions) each have searchable databases on the size, financial health, and insurance status of the financial institutions they regulate
- Compare your needs with their strengths: If you primarily conduct your financial transactions online, then you will want an institution that offers online or mobile banking. If ATM fees are an issue, then look for surcharge-free networks or institutions that reimburse you for fees. If you need advice on planning for the future, choose an institution with a strong financial wellness program. If you need a car loan or a mortgage, look for the lowest interest rates on loans
- Choose to be involved: If you have an account with a credit union, you are both a member and an owner. This process guarantees you a voice and ensures that your credit union is looking out for your best financial interests and not that of a small group of stockholders.
Whether you are looking for your first loan, would like to start a small business, or just want to get rid of debt, a credit union can help. They offer many of the same services as other financial institutions, but are not-for-profit. They treat you like a person, not a dollar sign.