Saturday, November 5th was National Bank Transfer Day. The goal was to encourage bank customers to leave their banks and become members of a credit union. According to a credit union trade organization, 650,000 people opened accounts at credit unions over the last month, up from an 80,000-a-month average, but is using a credit union good for you? The answer to that question is going to depend on your situation; however there are five strong reasons for you to choose a credit union as your financial institution: NOT-FOR-PROFIT The biggest difference that sets credit unions apart from traditional banks is that credit unions are not-for-profit. That means that credit unions exist to help their members, not to make money. With that driving force, the way they do everything else is different. YOU’RE AN OWNER When you open an account at a credit union (find one at CreditUnion.coop) you become a member-owner of that credit union. That means that you can vote on things and your voice can be heard. Each credit union has different requirements for membership, however many credit unions have opened up membership to people that live, work, or volunteer in the county in which the credit union is located. GREAT LOAN RATES Credit unions offer the same financial products as traditional banks, except for one major difference: they have better loan rates. Credit union members use the deposits of members to loan to other members. Since the bottom line isn’t to make money, but to serve the members, the loan rates (think mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, business loans, etc.) tend to be lower than traditional banks. BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE Every year, thousands of financial institution customers take a survey to share how they feel about their financial services institutions. Consistently, credit union members give higher satisfaction ratings than traditional bank customers. At credit unions you’re more than just a number, you’re a member-owner. THE MOST ATMS ACROSS THE NATION This is a little-known fact, but credit unions have more ATMs across the country than banks. The coop network gives credit union members access to 28,000 surcharge-free ATMs including the ATMs at 7-Elevens. Visit CreditUnion.coop to locate ATMs by street address or zip code. Most credit unions also have mobile phone apps to help you locate ATMs. Your goal should be to work with a financial institution that provides the products and services you need at a fair rate while making you feel comfortable. Your financial life is your responsibility to handle. Choose from all the available options, not just the ones that can afford the most commercials on TV.