Because of the benefits credit union memberships offer, the number of people in Ohio who choose to conduct their financial business at a credit union grew by more than 33,000 in the past 12 months, as of
June 2015. In a consumer survey conducted by the Ohio Credit Union League, 79 percent of Ohio respondents said they value being treated like a member, rather than just a customer, and encourage their friends and family to use a credit union where this is everyday practice.
When asked what respondents value about their credit union, 77 percent said the lower interest rates on loans, and 50 percent noted lower fees on credit cards. Thirty-six percent said it’s the lower mortgage fees, while 35 percent said it’s the higher interest return on accounts. One individual surveyed said, “My credit union is so easy to work with, very helpful, and makes my life easier.”
Credit unions have been making a difference in people’s lives for decades with staple services such as savings accounts, mortgages, and auto loans, but what makes credit unions different from other financial institutions?
- Not-for-profit – As a cooperative, members own and fund the credit union, and in return the entire membership benefits from the earnings. Not a few stockholders.
- Membership – When you become a member of a credit union, you become an owner, not just a customer purchasing services.
- Education, training, and information – Credit unions empower members to make sound financial choices through one-on-one coaching and education classes.
- Commitment to Service – While focusing on members’ needs is priority, so is sustainable development of the communities in which they reside.
- Formation: Simply put, credit unions are groups of people who pool their money to provide lower cost loans and fees, and better savings rates to one another.
The core fundamentals, the purpose, of credit unions are different from any other financial institution. With a philosophy of helping people versus making a profit, every penny of earnings are returned to the member-owners as higher savings rates, lower loan rates, lower fees, more convenient locations, new services, dividends, and more.