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Why You Should Consider Joining a Credit Union

Sunmark personal loans and lines of credit are a low-cost way to pay for unexpected expenses or to consolidate high-interest debt.

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Financial institutions aren’t all created equal. Some are big, some are small, some offer great savings rates and others don’t pay interest at all. If you’re dissatisfied with your bank, it might be time to look elsewhere. Here are a few good reasons to give credit unions a try.

Not just a nonprofit

Unlike banks, which operate for profit, credit unions are member-owned, democratically run nonprofits. That means you’re more than a customer; you’re a member, and you get to vote on board directors and other officials. Each member’s vote carries equal weight, regardless of deposits at the credit union.

More favorable rates and lower fees

Credit unions’ not-for-profit status lets them distribute their profits to members through returns on savings and investments. As a result, credit unions provide higher average returns on a national level than traditional banks do and the average rates for savings and loan products beat or tied those of traditional banks. Credit unions charge lower fees on average than traditional banks as well. A study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that 60% of credit unions provided completely fee-free checking accounts, while only 24% of big banks did.

Community is a priority

Credit unions are known for their personalized service and community engagement. It’s common for them to give out scholarships, donations, and grants, or host concerts and volunteer events. The Sunmark Charitable Community Foundation is devoted to the credit union philosophy of “people helping people”. Through various strategies and initiatives, the Foundation is able to provide financial contributions, in-kind services and volunteer support to non-profit organizations within the Sunmark 14 county charter area.

This focus means members receive knowledgeable customer service and representatives generally try to get to know them and can provide valuable financial education and resources. Credit unions also routinely offer member perks, such as discounted auto-buying services, free financial tune-ups, and free credit reviews.

Cutting-edge and convenient.

Credit unions, like Sunmark, offer a variety of savings and investment account choices. Many are part of shared branching and ATM networks, giving members access to thousands of ATMs and branches nationwide. Popular features such as mobile and online banking are now available at virtually every credit union. Sunmark’s technology might also be considered cutting-edge. Sunmark has added myTMs at most branch locations. Sunmark myTMs are self-service kiosks that allow their members to perform most transactions, that once required a teller, on their own, 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

How can I join a credit union?

To qualify for membership in most credit unions, you simply have to live, work, go to school, or worship in the area they serve. Before you make the switch to a credit union, compare its services to banks in your area to make sure you’re signing up for the institution that most suits your needs and values.