You just got out of work, you run over to the gym for a workout. After a fifty-minute sweat session, you decide you need a coffee to get you through your night's study session. You realize you need to transfer money, so you pull out your phone, and put five bucks into your account. You buy your coffee, then happily head home.
Your life is busy. And you might not realize it, but you do regular transactions with your financial institution - without ever going into a physical location. It's no surprise that most of us don't really care which financial institution we're at, as long as we can get by in our everyday lives.
Why should we care?
As Millennials, we've witnessed parents, friends and relatives struggling with debt, plunging home values, and financial hardship. We don't want that for our futures. And, financial institutions - like banks and credit unions - play a huge role in our financial success. For example, they set fees (or lack of fees), interest rates on loans, etc.
As Millennials, we should be making the smartest decision for our financial futures, so here are some reasons to leave your big bank, and seek out a community credit union instead!
1. If you're not 100% satisfied with your bank's customer service, that's a good reason to take your business somewhere else.
Have you ever called a business, were answered by an automated message, then asked to type in ten different numbers, only to be placed on hold for 30 minutes!? That's what happened to me the time I called a bank. This type of impersonal service drives me crazy. I like calling a business and talking to a human.
Credit unions, and local financial institutions have personal service, which is really nice. Their customer service is exceptional because they're small, local, and they care about their communities!
2. If you're being charged monthly service fees or need to maintain a high minimum balance in your checking account, you can find better deals!
Some credit unions offer a $0 minimum balance for your checking account. Other banks want you to maintain high minimum balances. Here is an example of a bank's checking account requirements:
Is it just me, or does $1,500 seem like a HUGE balance to maintain daily...?
You do NOT need to be paying fees for things like this. Credit unions are able to offer services without fees because they are not looking to make a profit. They are member-owned. Banks are the opposite. They're owned by shareholders who DO want to make a profit.
3. Low interest rates on savings accounts, and high interest rates on loans.
Not all interest rates are created equal. Credit unions often offer better rates because they are not looking to make a profit off of you. Remember, credit unions are member-owned, so shareholders aren't involved. This means better rates for you!
In the long run credit unions and local financial institutions are the better option. And over time, you will save significantly if you don't have to worry about paying fees, high interest rates, or follow strict guidelines on your checking account!
Now, I'd love to hear from you!
Have you ever had a good/bad experience with your financial institution? What did you learn, and did you switch?