Moving Your Money? Then Try a Credit Union

Mar 18, 2010 | Updated May 25, 2011

We applaud the call for folks to move their money to local financial institutions; we just think that call should also include credit unions.

Credit unions, not-for-profit, member-owned financial institutions, have been widely recognized for their prudent business practices and great service. A key reason for this is that "profits" are returned to members in the form of lower fees and competitive rates.

This investment has paid off: Today, credit unions serve approximately 92 million members.

Federal credit unions also offer great rates on all types of loans, including automobiles, cars, credit cards, and mortgages. Credit card interest rates and other loans cannot exceed 18 percent at federal credit unions and usually average much lower. You can go to and compare rates between credit unions and banks.

In addition, while banks were tightening their commercial lending, credit unions member business loans have increased nearly 17 percent since Sept. 2008. In fact, through the third quarter of 2009, credit unions provided over 139,000 loans for a total of nearly $28 billion to their members.

To become a credit union member, you can go to and find the credit union(s) you are eligible to join. In addition to offering a full panoply of financial products and services, many credit unions also offer fee-free ATM network access through 7-11 convenience stores.

In addition, deposits in federally insured credit unions are protected up to $250,000 by the National Credit Union Administration, the same coverage provided to FDIC-insured bank deposits and also backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

Ultimately, credit unions offer a great choice for folks who want great service and products with lower fees and competitive rates.