I have a choice when it comes to where I do my banking. I can go with a bank or with a credit union. After having a relationship with both, I can honestly say, I like credit unions better. I know, you’re thinking, “well of course you like credit unions better… you work for one!” That’s true. I do work for Taleris Credit Union, but I belonged to a credit union before I started working here. I also have a unique perspective in that I have had banking relationships, and worked for, both a bank and a credit union. In my opinion there are distinct advantages for belonging to a credit union. Here’s a few.

1. You own the Credit Union. Credit unions are cooperative organizations owned by their members. Unlike corporate banks, credit unions are working in the best interest of those members, not a small group of stockholders. This is why credit unions offer much better customer service and will go out of their way to make you, the member, happy. They’re less focused on turning a profit and more focused on ensuring they’re providing members with a high level of service and competitive rates. Like Spock said in Star Trek II … “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

2. Lower fees. Shop around for a loan or a checking account and you’ll find that credit unions usually offer lower fees or fewer fees on most financial products or services. Whether you’re interested in opening a primary savings account, getting a car loan, or opening a new checking account, credit unions offer the best financial products and packages in town and leave you with a little more in your pocket each month. I like that.

3. Better interest rates. Credit unions typically offer lower interest rates on loans and higher interest rates on deposits. Why? Because credit unions are not-for-profit organizations. Profits go back to the members in the form of better rates. So, go ahead and compare. You’ll find that credit unions will come out on top when you compare loan and deposit rates.

4. Less restrictive credit eligibility requirements. If you’ve been denied for a loan from a corporate bank, or you have had some financial setbacks, consider applying for a loan through a credit union. Many credit unions have less stringent loan eligibility requirements and may be willing to work with you when banks won’t.

5. Secure funds. Just like the FDIC, deposits at a credit union are insured up to $250,000. Some have deposit insurance through Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and are federally insured. Others, like Taleris, are privately insured through American Share Insurance (ASI). Either way, you don’t have to worry about losing your money when you set up accounts at a credit union. You’re investing in the same level of risk as a regular bank, but can enjoy the benefits of a credit union membership.

So, in a nutshell, credit unions offer me everything a bank does and more. The “more” being the definitive reasoning behind my decision to join a credit union. I like that I can get better rates, less fees and to quote Bob Seger, I don’t “feel like a number.”

What do you think? Let us know some of your experiences with banks and credit unions. Remember, we have a weekly contest for blog comments! One $25 winner each week will be picked from all blog comments!