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10 Benefits of Joining a Credit Union


Credit unions are a great alternative to big banks because they provide personalized, local service and tend to offer lower rates on loans and higher rates on savings. Plus, credit unions offer all the other products and services you expect to get from a nationwide bank. 

No matter where you live in the U.S., you can usually find a credit union that serves your local community just as OUCU Financial serves the people of Southeast Ohio. Read on to learn about the many benefits of joining a credit union!

1. Commitment to Members

Credit unions don't have customers—they have members. That's because a credit union is a cooperative, not-for-profit financial institution whereby all of the members are part owners. We want to make your life better by saving you time and money. 

2. Fewer and Lower Fees

Take a look at the fees chart of a bank vs. credit union and you'll likely find credit unions come out on top. For example, OUCU offers a free checking account with no minimum balance – or you can get a credit card with no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, and no cash advance fee!

credit card disclosure

3. Lower Rates on Loans and Credit Cards

You might also get a better annual percentage rate (APR) on your credit card through your local credit union, too. Meanwhile, popular low-interest loans from credit unions include auto loans, RV loans, personal loans, and a flexible range of home loans.

4. Competitive Rates on Savings

Credit unions are also a great option for saving and investing your money, without the stress of the stock markets. Data from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) shows credit unions may offer higher rates on savings accounts and certificates

You may also consider opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), whether or not you have an employer-sponsored 401(k).

5. Federal Insurance on Savings

When you deposit your money with a credit union, you can relax knowing your funds are federally insured up to $250,000. NCUA insures qualifying deposits for each type of account you hold in the unlikely event your credit union fails.

6. Full Range of Products and Services

Maybe you're thinking, okay this sounds good, but surely there must be a bunch of things I can get from a big bank that I can't get from my local credit union? Actually no—you'll find most credit unions provide all the same products and services—and more! 

A credit union can cater to all your needs, from personal banking to business accounts, investments and planning, financial education, and even classroom resources

7. The Latest Online and Mobile Banking Tools

Many credit unions started years ago, as a simple place for local workers to deposit their paychecks and take out low-cost loans. But from their humble origins, credit unions have kept up with the times! You'll get cutting-edge Online Banking tools, a Mobile App, and more.

8. Local Experts

Credit unions are based in your local area so the member service representatives you meet in person, talk to on the phone, or chat with online will be people who live or work near you. They will understand your background, your current needs—and your hopes for the future. 

For businesses, you can get specific financial education from member representatives who understand the local economy and the kinds of clients you serve. 

9. Community Support

One major difference between credit unions and banks is that we give back to people, schools, and organizations in our local community rather than to nationwide charitable organizations. We love the people right here in Southeast Ohio, and we know who needs a helping hand.

10. Voting Rights

One final point that's worth considering: Credit union board members are elected, not hand-picked by whoever is in charge. This means you have the opportunity to determine who runs the organization, makes the most important decisions, and sets the credit union’s goals. 

How to Join a Credit Union

So how can you become a credit union member and take advantage of all these benefits? It's simple. The first thing you need to do is check the qualifying criteria. 

Check the Membership Criteria

Credit union membership may be open to people who live or work in specific towns, counties, or states. You may also qualify if you belong to a church or attend school within those boundaries. Some credit unions offer membership to people who work for particular companies, no matter where they're located.

Get the Benefits of Joining a Credit Union Today

Now that you know the benefits of joining a credit union, let's look at the simple steps you can take to become a member of OUCU Financial. 

First, check if you meet OUCU membership eligibility. You need to ??live, work, worship, or attend school in the following counties in Ohio:

  • Athens
  • Fairfield
  • Hocking
  • Meigs
  • Morgan
  • Perry
  • Vinton
  • Washington 

Next, gather these documents:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your government-issued photo ID (i.e. State issued Driver's License/ ID, or Passport)
  • Note that you may need to provide proof of your physical address if the address on your government-issued ID isn't current. A post office box isn't valid.

Finally, deposit $5 into a Regular Share Savings account. Once you're a member, you can open any other account and apply for any other products or services you want. Get started today!

Become a member of OUCU

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