PROVIDENCE, R.I., and COLUMBUS, Ohio (2/3/09)--Two letters written to newspapers in Rhode Island and Ohio emphasize credit unions as good alternatives to banks. Cidalia Rocha, chairman of the board of the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island and president/CEO of Columbus CU, Warren, R.I., noted in a letter to the Providence Journal Sunday that the state has 26 member-owned credit unions that meet the financial needs of one-third of the state’s population. “The nation and Rhode Island do have locally owned and operated credit unions that are focused on bringing value to the communities they serve,” Rocha wrote, adding that coverage of large banks in the media often casts a shadow over credit unions. Another letter, appearing in The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch Jan. 28, encourages consumers to join credit unions. The writer, R.M. Baker, of Columbus, said that banks received a bailout from taxpayers, while credit unions didn’t. “Credit unions are more than willing to loan money for automobiles and for the purchase of new homes,” Baker wrote. “Maybe all of us should be considering joining credit unions, where customer service is more of a priority,” Baker said.