Despite the Move Your Money advocacy of recent months, I'm amazed at how many friends don't know the benefits of banking with credit unions. Joining a credit union is easy and open to almost everyone. Credit union membership helps shield the community from powerful commercial banks now hoarding our money after a decade of gambling with it. For most of us, it's in our public and self-interest to transfer savings and checking accounts from big national banks to local credit unions--first thing tomorrow.
Unlike big commercial banks, credit unions came through the 2008 meltdown relatively unscathed and never required taxpayer bailouts. Credit unions didn't suffer from vast holdings of junk debt because they didn't issue bad loans during the easy-money, predatory financial climate of the Bush years. Born during another great financial crisis, the first credit unions were formed in the 1930s as member-owned cooperatives. Today, in a similar time of public rescue and clean up after private banks' failure and toxic profiteering, credit unions fulfill the same mission: to help people save and borrow locally at competitive rates from people they knew.
Best of all, moving our money to a credit union is no sacrifice. After the minutes it takes to open an account, we help ourselves with an array of free credit union conveniences and benefits:
*Full-service branch banking, including free and interest-earning checking accounts, competitive rates ("dividends") on personal loans, savings, IRAs, and certificates of deposit.
*All deposits federally insured up to $250,000, same as commercial banks.
*An array of free services to members, ATM's, drive-up windows, notary public and on-line resources.