If you’re like most Americans, you probably still feel some level of anxiety when it comes to big banks. In fact, a recent Gallup poll showed that only 37% of Americans showed confidence in that industry. It’s not exactly a shock given the ripple-effect of 2008’s Great Recession on so many things: home ownership, interest rates, housing prices, cost of living, and more. Most people deal with big banks simply because they feel they have to.
However, that’s a fallacy. They don’t have to deal with big banks. There’s an alternative, a smaller and more-focused institution with the same government protections but greater sense of community and stability: credit unions. Many people have heard of credit unions, but it’s still easy to overlook them. If you’re unsure about big banks, here’s why credit unions might prove to be a better choice:
Care about more than just the bottom line? You’re not alone. In fact, this election cycle has shown us that given the proper voice and outlet, millions of Americans can think about much more than dollars and cents. In other words, community matters. Credit unions are financial institutions based in the community. Every single member has a voice in the not-for-profit organization, and that means that credit unions operate as driving forces for community betterment. From organizing volunteers to hosting benefits, credit unions do much more than just save and invest your money.
The smartphone has made management and access easier in just about every industry thanks to apps developed by individual companies. Credit unions are no exception to this. CO-OP, an organization that works with about 3,500 credit unions, offers two apps designed to help out credit union members: CardNav helps control card transactions with real-time fraud security while Sprig gives customers the power to make person-to-person payments.
You may not realize it, but credit unions can be accessed nearly everywhere in the country. With about 6,400 credit unions in the U.S., availability is not scarce. Many credit unions participate in CO-OP ATM, which enables surcharge-free access to 30,000 ATMs nationwide, and CO-OP Shared Branch, with 5,400 branches that enable members to walk into any and conduct their business as if they were at their home credit union. So just because a credit union is based locally, you never have to worry — you’ll be able to access your money from nearly anywhere in the country.
Feeling cautious about big banks since the 2008 financial meltdown? Credit unions may be just the thing to service your wallet and your heart. Find out more by locating your nearest credit union; you’ll quickly see why it’s an investment both in your financial future and your community.