Did you recently get married or start a family? Credit unions are winning over millennials, but what about families that have only just begun? Here are a few ways credit unions cater directly to the needs of young families, helping millions of people begin this important new chapter in life.
They’re not one size fits all.
Because credit unions are regionally or institutionally based, they have an advantage when it comes to understanding the unique needs of their members.
Take Navy Federal Credit Union of Vienna, Va., for example. Because financial emergencies can occur when active military service men and women are deployed overseas, Navy Federal created a product that mimics the financial backing of a VA loan. It is 100 percent financed by the credit union and designed specifically for first-time homebuyers and active service families who may have already used their VA loan eligibility.
If you’re looking into buying your first home or a new car, credit unions consider your immediate concerns and long-term financial goals, often solving unmet needs of members. For instance, Meriwest Credit Union of San Jose, Calif. has developed a roadmap for lending via a partnership with the Housing Endowment and Regional Trust (HEART), a nonprofit that helps moderate-income families purchase their first home in the “challenging” (read “expensive!”) San Mateo County market.
They put family before money.
Because credit unions exist to support their members and are not-for-profit institutions, generations of families become loyal members of their local credit union. Jim Wang of wallethacks.com recalled opening a joint credit union account with his mother when he was 18 years old. “The experience has been much warmer and friendlier than any interaction I’ve ever had at a commercial bank,” he says.
Just as your family’s priorities will shift throughout the years, credit unions are dedicated to providing new services that make banking more convenient, secure and accessible to ever-changing financial needs.
They help pave the way to build credit.
If you’re just starting a family and need to establish good credit, a credit union’s lower rates and fewer fees will help you save money.
In addition, the consumer technology credit unions can offer is as advanced as that of any financial institution. Often these products are designed to fight fraud before it happens – helping to protect a clean credit score. CardNav by CO-OP, for instance, is a digital payments card loaded with features allowing you to protect card usage, including spending amount, geographic range and merchant-type limits, as well as on/off capability.
Navy Federal even offers a “secured card” – backed by money you have, not money you’ll have to pay off – to help members earn cash rewards, as well as establish, build and even repair credit.
They empower you to be financially literate.
Credit unions are committed to providing you and your family with educational resources to equip you with the tools to achieve financial freedom. It’s not about selling products and services, it’s about providing knowledge and tools that build steady progress toward your goals. You can check with your local credit union to see what programs and resources they might offer to members.
They are available where and when you need them.
There is a common misperception that credit unions are solely local institutions. But, in fact, credit unions can continue to provide access to accounts wherever members across the country via a branch and ATM network managed by CO-OP Financial Services, a fintech provider to the industry.
CO-OP Shared Branch boasts more than 5,300 branch locations, pooled from more than 1,800 participating credit unions, enabling you to conduct your business in any of them as if you were in your own home branch. In addition, CO-OP ATM encompasses more than 30,000 ATM locations in every state (more ATM locations than Chase and US Bank combined).
Credit unions look beyond the short-term and at the big picture. Major life-changing events could mean a shift in priorities, and credit unions exist to help achieve your objectives, every step of the way.
About the Author
Samantha Paxson is Chief Marketing Officer for CO-OP Financial Services in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. (www.co-opfs.org), a provider of financial technology to credit unions.