NEW YORK (11/19/08)--The manner in which credit unions have evolved over the years and the advantages they offer consumers compared with other financial institutions was the topic of a Monday MarketWatch
column. The column, “Not Your Father’s Credit Union,” by Jennifer Openshaw, discusses a reader’s response to a previous column. In it, she listed advantages credit unions have over traditional banks--such as not-for profit status, self-funding, better rates and lower fees. She also mentioned that credit unions are insured up to $250,000 through the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). Benson Porter, CEO of Addison FCU, Palo Alto, Calif., and former Washington Mutual executive, reinforced credit unions’ advantages Openshaw had mentioned in the previous column. Porter then listed ways credit unions are “breaking old molds and evolving faster than some may realize.” Regarding credit unions, Porter told Openshaw:
* Almost anyone can join, which is a departure from the past when most credit unions solely served select employee groups; * Members can access financial services anywhere. In the past, most credit unions operated only on or near employer facilities. Today, the bigger credit unions have branches; * High-yield checking accounts are offered by credit unions, with up to 4.5% interest on balances up to $25,000, with unlimited free checking; * Business banking services are available that offer businesses checking and credit card processing; and * Investment services, which are like to rapidly grow in the current economic environment, are offered.