Just a decade ago, the idea of banks purchasing credit unions sounded strange; after all, why would banks need them? Today, these financial institutions have found a common ground to operate, making it obvious that the latter group are also important in driving economic growth.
Banks who want to spread their tentacles to a community may decide to acquire a credit union and leave it running as a semi-independent financial house. This offers mutual benefits to the banks as well as the credit union holders. But banks are not the only ones who can buy a credit union. A credit union is only sold to a bank when economic situations force the sale.
For individuals who want to buy a credit union, the best way is to become a shareholder by opening an account with them.
Credit unions are designed in a way that every member who opens an account automatically becomes a shareholder who can partake in the decision-making process, i.e., they become co-owners. This is crucial to the existence of the credit union. Members can make it thrive or run it down.
How to join a credit union
Although all credit unions are focused on the same thing, some still offer more advantages than others. The three important things to look out for before choosing a credit union are:
- Free checking account: Your credit union should offer a free checking account with no hidden costs. The account should also have no minimum balance requirement. However, be aware that some unions will close an account that stays empty and dormant for a stipulated time.
- Good ATM network: Since the aim of joining a credit union is to save more money, you need one with ATM spread around your location for easy transactions. This removes the surcharges which you would incur using other banks’ ATMs.
- Loyalty rewards: Loyalty rewards come in different packages. Why not join a credit union that regularly rewards you for being a member?
Once you find a credit union that satisfies these features, simply visit their office or website and fill in the required forms, submit any documents asked and that is it. The entire process is so easy that you would be surprised.
The decision to buy into a credit union will benefit you. You are stepping into a community-oriented institution that prioritizes customers’ welfare, provides low-interest loans, as well as a minder disposition to your plight than banks. A good decision? Definitely.