Ben Franklin told us that a “penny saved is a penny earned.” My mother told me not to stick a penny in an outlet. Some guy in the grocery store offered a penny for my thoughts. I almost told him that my thoughts were worth way more than a penny, but then he would have gotten that thought for free, thus devaluing my thoughts in the open market. So I just ran away.
So what’s the deal with all the penny talk? There isn’t one actually, I was just thinking about pennies today. I’m actually here to follow up on last week’s blog about deciding what you want out of your relationship with your financial institution. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the hype of the financial institution with the super awesome motorcycle and the puppy dog brown eyes. You want a financial institution with substance. You want a Financial Institution that will be there to support your wants and needs and will be able to support you through the many changes in your life. Sure, they won’t be perfect. You will have good times and bad times, but when it comes down to it, you know that you’ve got an ally that will loan you money at a reasonable interest rate.
The thing is, we all know what a bank is. We all know what banks offer. So I’m not going to talk about banks. I’m going to talk about credit unions. South Carolina Federal Credit Union is a locally owned, not –for- profit cooperative. Most credit unions are. What does that mean?
It means a credit union’s goal is not to make billions of dollars in profit to appease shareholders that live all over the world and could care less about what it takes to make that profit. Any income earned by the credit union is invested back into the organization to enhance services for its members. Does this mean you will never pay a fee at a credit union? No. Sometimes an institution has to charge a fee for some services to cover the cost of operating those services. However, a credit union is more likely to offer many options that are fee free or very close to it. Often, by using certain services you can avoid fees altogether. The difference is that when a credit union charges you fees, it’s to ensure that the institution remains financially sound and that those services can continue to be offered, in addition to many other services that make your life convenient. When a bank charges you fees, they are also ensuring the soundness of the institution, but in addition, someone with a stock certificate gets a percentage…and a big smile on their face.
You will hear it said that credit unions don’t offer as many services as banks, and that if you want to travel and use ATM’s, you have to use a bank. As with all things in life, there are some credit unions that are very small and have very limited services. Then there are larger credit unions that offer the same services as most banks, keep up with cutting edge technology, and have a wide network of fee free ATM’s at your service. There are banks that are very small and have limited services as well. It’s all about doing a little bit of research and finding out what financial institution meets YOUR needs.
For more on what a co-op is, click here
For more info about credit unions, see the following:
(PS when the Motley Fool calls something Foolish…it’s a good thing)
I will be honest, I love my credit union, not just because I work here, but because of the things it stands for and the positive impact that it makes on the communities it serves. There is a credit union difference, and don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that the difference is only based on the services offered and the membership qualifications.