Big financial decisions can be intimidating. Where to open an account, buying homes or vehicles, and using credit cards are financial decisions that we want to make responsibly.
With a supportive system made up of people who care about helping people, these decisions are not so scary.
Credit unions began as a movement to help the underdogs when big banks would refuse to serve them. Credit unions care about giving people a fair start in life.
They offer shared branching.
With 170 branches, Maine’s credit unions have nearly three times more locations than any single bank in Maine by “sharing their branches.” You can access your money from almost anywhere. When I moved away from home to college, this was important to me.
Shared branching means if you have an account with a credit union, but are traveling out of the area, you can perform account deposits, cash and check withdrawals, transfers, cash advances, loan payments, etc. at any other credit union that offers shared branching. You only need your photo id, your own credit union name and account number, the last 4 digits of your Social Security number, and the primary address on file for your account.
They are local, and they support the community.
I love that my credit union supports the Campaign for Ending Hunger. Since the campaign began in 1990, credit unions and their members have raised $5.3 million, with 100% of proceeds, toward the cause. They also offer financial education and resources, and raise money through the Swish-Out Childhood Cancer Challenge, where 100% of all sponsorships help children with cancer and their families.
They make life easy.
With convenient mobile apps, online banking services, and mobile check deposit, I can bank from anywhere!
With mobile check deposit, I use my phone to deposit checks. By taking a photo of the front and back of the signed check, you have access to your money almost immediately.
The SURF ATM network in Maine has 230 SURF ATMs - the largest surcharge-free ATM network in Maine! I use the ATM locator - http://mainecreditunions.org/surf-atm-locator/ to find easy access to my money, wherever I travel, for free.
With online services, life is easy and convenient. You can track your spending, manage your budget, make online transfers, and create separate club accounts to better manage your finances. All of this can be done from home or on-the-go with mobile banking.
They have less fees and better rates on loans.
As a student who graduated from the University of Maine, this is important to me. College is expensive, and I want the best rates on loans as possible. I also don’t want to pay extra money in fees.
Because credit unions are not-for-profit, they can return money to members in the form of better rates on loans, less fees and more annual dividends dispersed to your savings account each year.