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Education Credit Union

Education Credit Union

Have you ever noticed how TV commercials for big banks work really hard at shmaltz?
Loving family, cute baby, sweet old retiree, micropigs on leashes.

It’s almost as if they’re trying to distract us from something…
Oh, you mean like how in 2016 Wells Fargo admitted to creating 3.5 million fake accounts, for customers to collect extra fees, and charged over 570,000 people for auto insurance they don't need to, resulting in more than 20,000 customers experiencing default?

And then there is the now famous Citibank practice, Lehman Bros, AIG and other Wall Street giants from bundling toxic "junk" assets and repackaging them as a very safe AAA investment, which led to the collapse of the international money system like ordinary people still sick of And most Americans feel that big banks are valued rather than punished for risky and predatory behavior. Bank of America received tens of billions in bailouts in 2009, only to reverse the following year and pay $ 35 billion in executive bonuses! No wonder, our trust in these institutions is low.

A recent gallup poll showed that only 27% of Americans have onfidence in banks. But this is not a new phenomenon.14th-century poet Dante placed money-lenders in the 7th circle of hell, below violent murderers and blasphemers!.  You’ve got to stash your cash somewhere, and who can get through life without ever taking out a loan or using a credit card? Thankfully, you do have options. Alternatives to big banks have been around for a long time, and if you haven’t looked into them yet, it might be time. One good alternative is a local community bank. Their costs and fees can be lower than the national chain, and you can be sure they won't use your money for risk bets or Wall Street bets. Community banks also tend to invest in the nearest area, help develop projects and businesses that create jobs and increase space in your hometown.

There are more than 52,000 community bank locations throughout the country and you can find them in your area by checking the ICBA website. Then there are banks that don't have any physical location: Online-based banks like SIMPLE and CHIME usually have lower fees partly due to having no brick-and-mortar expenses. They also tend to have no account minimums, don’t charge overdraft fees, and ATMs are fee-free at over 30,000 locations. Both local banks and online-based banks still typically offer FDIC protection on up to $250,000 worth of deposits per person and account type. So for most people, they are just as secure as the big national chains.You could also choose to ditch banks all together, and open up an account at a credit union. Credit unions allow you to make deposits and withdrawals, take out loans and credit cards, and enjoy most other services you might expect from a bank. But unlike banks, credit unions are all non-profit entities.

Any profits made by the credit union are returned to you in the form of reduced fees, higher savings rates, and better loan terms. This is because credit unions technically don’t have “customers”--they have “members”. Everyone who keeps their money at a credit union is seen as a part owner of the institution. And they usually all share a common bond - perhaps they all live in a particular geographic location, work in the same industry, or are all alumni of the same university. One member’s deposits end up becoming an auto or business loan for another member. Teamwork! Credit unions offer FDIC-like protection through the NCUSIF, and most credit unions are part of a national shared-branch network which allows you to bank at thousands of other credit unions just like they were your own. So depending on your credit union, you could have access to even more ATMs and branches than with a big national bank. Maybe this all sounds great to you, and you’re ready to say sayonara to your big bank, but there are a few drawbacks to consider before making the switch.

Because of their size and scope, large banks are better at international banking and lending. Making withdrawals from abroad or getting a loan in another country can be a big problem for many local banks and credit unions. So if you do a lot of travelling or have a cross-border business, sticking with a big bank can make your life easier. Also, small banks and credit unions usually cannot compete with the digital offerings of big banks. So, if things like banking applications, budgeting software, and online accounting tools are important to you, be sure to ask about the technology support they offer. Although these benefits come from large, large banks, in their advertisements, they often go out to describe themselves as home, familiar, even rural. It's as if they say that a few local organizations are more trustworthy.

So, if you find these commercials persuasive, maybe you should check out the smaller organizations.

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