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¿Sabe usted cuál es la diferencia entre un banco y una cooperativa de ahorro y crédito?

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La Diferencia Cooperativista

The Credit Union Difference and Your Family

By Anna Peña

For many families, banks are the only known option for managing money. But some people have become fed up with miscellaneous fees or charges or simply do not feel comfortable working with a bank. Credit unions can a better option. Credit unions offer all the services of a financial institution, and do so with greater personal and financial benefits because of the credit union's foundation.

Why should I choose a credit union and not a bank?

Credit unions are non-profit financial institutions that are owned by its members, unlike for-profit banks that are owned by stockholders. This means that credit union employees are dedicated to work for your best interests instead of trying to get the most profit out of your membership.

Credit unions have a social mission to behave and help like a family rather than a business. Because they are non-profit institutions, credit unions are able to provide better interest rates on loans and savings accounts, as well as smaller fees and higher dividends. These better rates help out all members of the family whether it is the parents searching for lower mortgage payments, the teenager trying to finance their first car, or someone trying to save money for college.

How credit unions benefit your family

One reason credit unions are so unique is because of the community it represents. Members are often locally comprised of those with a common bond, which may include where they work, live, study, or worship. The members may already be familiar with each other, giving the credit union a more communal atmosphere. Simultaneously, credit union employees will gain a better knowledge of serving members with similar financial necessities.

What other benefits can credit unions offer families?

Ownership —At a credit union, you truly are an owner. Each member has one vote to choose a member for the credit union's board of directors; a board that oversees the operations of the credit union. You have an active voice for representing you and your family's needs.

Better service —Because the goal of the credit union is to benefit members and not maximize profits, personal tellers will give you the best advice on financial choices. They will have a better understanding of your financial situation, and will educate you on all the different options of banking.

Acceptance —Credit unions are founded to serve the underserved. They view your membership as an asset, not just your money. Therefore, the members' relationships with the tellers are more personal and helpful. Also, they may be more willing to lend when banks are not.

Rates —Since a credit union works without profit, the interest rates on car loans, mortgage loans, and savings accounts tend to be much better. The parents of a family will be able to cut costs off of their monthly and yearly mortgage payments, and their teenage child will have an easier way of paying off their first car loan.

For more information about the variety of financial service options available in your community, visit your local credit union.

Published 5-6-2013

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