GREENSBORO, N.C. (4/30/08)--Credit unions in North Carolina saved members $529 million in 2006, according to research released by the North Carolina Credit Union League. The study, “The Benefits of Credit Unions to North Carolina Consumers of Financial Services” indicated that credit union members saved more than $452 million by using a credit union rather than a bank. And because of competition from credit unions, bank customers saved $77 million. Lower loan rates from credit unions saved members $124 million; higher deposit rates saved them $168 million; and lower fees saved them $158 million, according to the research. The average rate differential in 2006 on a used car loan was 2.65%. “That means a 36-month used-car loan for $15,000 saved the member more than $400,” said John Radebaugh, league president/CEO. The average credit union money-market account paid 1.67% more than the average bank money market account in the state. Credit union members saved $123 million on checking account fees, and $34 million on mortgage closing costs, according to the research. The value of credit union competition on bank loans to individuals was $30 million, and ATM network savings for non-credit union members was $46 million. Credit union competition also lowered the commercial bank consumer loan rates by 10 basis points--a savings of more than $30 million. The study was conducted by William Jackson, University of Alabama professor of finance. The report updates a 2005 study.