Consider Several Factors When Choosing the Best Credit Union to Suit Your Needs
With more than 6,200 credit union businesses in the United States, it can be difficult to choose the one that’s right for you and your financial needs. Luckily, Extensia Financial has more than 20 years of experience working with credit unions to provide services and products to borrowers. Extensia understands how to choose a credit union, the questions to ask and the factors to consider.
Federal Credit Union vs. State Credit Unions
One of the first steps in choosing a credit union is deciding between a federal credit union (FCU) and a state credit union. The major difference is that a federal credit union is regulated by the National Credit Union Association (NCUA), while a state-chartered credit union must adhere to state guidelines. These regulations vary by state. FCUs are also insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, while state credit unions are backed by either the United States government or the NCUA.
One advantage of a FCU is that interest rates have regulated maximums. State-operated credit unions can have higher limits or no limits, enabling these institutions to have higher rates. On the other hand, state regulatory authorities have greater control and familiarity with state-operated credit unions than the NCUA has over FCUs.
7 Questions to Ask When Choosing the Right Credit Union
- What banking services and products does this credit union offer?
- What investment, home and auto options are available?
- What online banking options do you offer (i.e. free checking)?
- Do you have an app for customers to use?
- Are there perks to joining your credit union vs. others?
- How accessible are your branches and ATMs?
- What amount do you need in your account to avoid penalties and fees in the checking account and savings account?
5 Things to Consider When Finding a Credit Union
- Credit Union Locations
A credit union’s location is a major factor when choosing the right credit union. To easily reach your funds in case of an emergency, choose a credit union in close proximity to your home. You’ll also want to find out the number of branches and ATMs available. Although credit unions were previously known to have scant locations, many are growing in quantity, and most credit unions have are members of the Co-op network providing access to ATMs nationwide without additional fees.
Many believe small financial institutions haven’t caught up with the technological times, but that is simply false. Credit unions have welcomed technology, such as online banking and mobile banking, to provide their members with greater access and service. Determine the types of technology you need from a credit union, whether it be mobile check deposit or Apple Pay, to make a decision.
- Customer Service
Although credit unions are known for superior customer service, it’s critical you speak with representatives from several institutions to find the one offering the best service, or the service level you prefer. Ask questions about their products, services and rates to determine the credit union’s level of transparency.
- Rates & Fees
Because every credit union will offer different rates, shop around for the lowest interest rates and fees. Find out the cost of opening an account, signing up for credit cards, ATM fees and more.
- Eligibility Requirements
Joining a credit union requires a field of membership, which is a common bond among members. Such a bond can be your employer, family, geographic location, or membership to a certain group, such as a union. Double check you’re eligible to join before choosing a credit union.
About Extensia Financial
Established in 1998 and headquartered in Simi Valley, CA, Extensia Financial offers competitive and collaborative commercial loans. We partner with credit unions and brokers, and connect them to investors across the United States. Additionally, we uniquely support and guide our partners through the entire full lifecycle of loans. Extensia Financial is a proud member of the AVANA Family of Companies.