As a credit union member, you probably have noticed the credit union difference:
Most importantly, at your credit union, you know you are not just an account number; you are a member and an owner who enjoys personal service from your credit union.
Credit unions typically offer better loan rates and deposit rates than banks, according to U.S. News & World Report (September 27, 2004).
Why? Credit unions reinvest their retained earnings back into their institution through better rates and lower fees for their members. In addition, credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives that do not have to pay the same corporate taxes paid by for-profit banks.
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Unlike other financial institutions, credit unions exist solely to serve their members needs, not to make a profit for outside stockholders. After expenses are paid and reserves are set aside, credit unions return their retained earning back to their members in the forms of lower loan rates, higher savings rates and lower fees.
Credit unions charge, on average, 99 cents for an out-of-network ATM transaction. The average fee imposed by a bank is $1.40.
Credit card fees
The average over-the-limit fee credit unions impose is $12.82, whereas banks charge between $25 and $29, and as much as $35, when a cardholder exceeds his/her credit limit.
Checking account fees
Nearly two-thirds of credit unions that provide share draft/checking services offer at least one free checking account. This compares to just 28 percent of banks/savings associations, according to the Federal Reserve.
Credit unions charge, on average, $11.35 per overdraft, whereas banks and savings institutions charge $19.78, a difference of $8.43.
Non-sufficient fund fees
While NSF fees are nearly universal across all financial institutions, credit unions charge nearly $3.00 less on average for non-sufficient funds.
Sources: The Credit Union National Association's (CUNA) 2002 Fees Survey, Bankrate.com, Federal Reserve Banks Annual Report to Congress on Retail Fees and Services of Depository Institutions.