Finance & Investment, Banks vs. credit unions: What will be your choice?
Consider how fast you can get results. Does the bank or credit union utilize automated decisioning so that you can get results in an instant? Automated decisioning is a way that financial institutions can get you answers regarding loans, credit card approvals and line of credit increases right away.
Are you thinking about starting a business? Consider their small business lending program. Look to see if you would qualify for the loan and perhaps all the hoops through which you will need to jump.
A simple thing to ask yourself is how convenient is the institution's location. Maybe you don't drive so you'll want to make sure they are on your bus route or within walking distance of your home. If not, maybe there is a satellite location close to you or an ATM where you can do your deposits. Ask yourself how much you will need to visit the bank so you can choose one that is convenient.
Next, think about the difference between banks and credit unions. There are several key differences when f figuring out which way you should go. First, credit unions are owned by its members. The members are often limited to a certain select group of people, depending on the credit union. Investors, on the other hand, own banks. Second, credit unions are not-for-profit. Banks, since they are investor owned are out to make a profit for their investors. So, when a credit union reaps profits it is coming back to the members in the form of lower interest rates and higher dividends.
Think about the type of service you'd like to receive. So far I haven't met anyone who would choose a bank if they were choosing purely because of customer service. Generally speaking, since credit unions are smaller they get to know their customers better. This may mean that they will look out for you a bit more than a bank. However, there are many people that swear by the bank they use and don't really care about the customer service as long as there are no errors. It is up to you.
Maybe online banking and bill pay is important to you. If so, check out their web site and maybe their news releases to find out what they offer and if there is a fee for their services. Those little fees can really add up rather quickly if you are not watching out for them. And, make sure they are compatible with your budget software or be prepared to invest in some new software. You may also want to keep in mind whether or not you want the option of having a safety deposit box and if they are offered.
A bank or a credit union? The choice is yours. But, ask around. Find out from friends and family what kind of experiences they've had and you'll be on your way to finding a good fit.
Related Tags: small business lending, automated decisioning
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