MADISON, Wis. (8/24/12)--With more public awareness of credit unions today, media such as Fox Business, Yahoo, Kiplinger and Bankrate.com are telling consumers what a credit union is and what to look for when choosing one.
Look for convenience, shared branching, educational opportunities, technology and stability, says Bankrate.com in Foxbusiness.com (Aug. 20). Since members can get the same service at any member credit union that they do at their regular one, shared branching makes credit unions seem much "infinitely larger," said Bruce McClary, spokesman for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions in Seattle in the article.
Because a network of credit unions nationwide shares information, shared branching allows credit union members to access thousands of convenient locations to conduct financial transactions, Bankrate said.
Costs, services and safety are three key points in favor of credit unions, according to Kiplinger.com (Aug. 23). Since credit unions are nonprofit organizations, they can offer more cost-related benefits. Without the driving force of making a profit, credit unions can pay out more interest on member accounts and charge less in fees. Also, most credit unions impose no minimum-balance requirements, Kiplingers said.
Checking accounts at credit unions was the topic of a Yahoo! Finance article. About 72% of credit unions surveyed nationwide offer free checking accounts, according to Bankrate's 2012 Credit Union Survey (finance.yahoo.com Aug. 23). Also, 30% of credit unions surveyed charge no fee for ATM use outside the ATM network or provide a minimum of one free withdrawal per week before a fee is applied, compared with 29% of banks surveyed in 2011, Bankrate said.
Besides better pricing and the convenience of shared branching, credit unions also offer free financial education to members such as advice on improving their credit scores, debt assistance, buying a home and making intelligent investing decisions, said BankVibe.com (Aug. 22).
To read the articles, use the links.