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CU System
Fin. Planner: 'If You Don't Belong To a CU, You Should'
BOULDER, Colo. (8/27/13)--Consumers should consider joining credit unions as an alternative to banks because credit unions were created in the public interest and are operated by members for their benefit, according to an op-ed by a Colorado financial planner.

"In spite of the local ownership, you still get the peace of mind that your funds won't disappear just as you do with a bank," wrote David Gardner, a certified financial planner with a practice in Boulder County, Colo., in the dailycamera.com (Aug. 25). "Instead the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which protects your bank deposits, you have the insurance of the National Credit Union Administration, which provides similar protection."

Gardner provides these other reasons to join a credit union:
  • Less likely to fee you to death. Many banks have reinstated and increased their fees amid a tepid economic recovery nationwide. Fees associated with checking accounts, in-person tellers, online banking, overdrafts and account statements all typically are higher at banks than at credit unions, he said, citing information from Consumer Reports.
  • Programs that target your community. Credit unions often offer programs that are tailored to the needs of local members. As an example, Elevations CU in Boulder, offers a special loan program with low fixed rates for home energy-efficiency improvements such as solar panels or more cost-effective appliances. Also, for students and others who need to establish or rebuild their credit, many credit unions offer free checking and credit card options.
  • Interest rates tend to be better. Generally speaking, consumers will find lower interest rates on loans and better terms at credit unions. Some local examples are Boulder Valley CU's 1.99% car loan, PenFed CU's innovative and low rate mortgages, or credit cards available from Elevations CU, he said.
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