The conversation about the challenges of Main Street vs. Wall Street has spilled over onto many areas as a metaphor to compare big vs. small, rich vs. poor and greed vs. need. Credit Unions have been seen as a beacon of light compared to big banks. Each American has a choice as they select the financial institution with which they do business. Do you want to “bank” on Main Street or Wall Street?
Stock Owners vs. Member-Owned
When a company issues “stock”, there is a demand for profit and return on investments. This short-sighted demand is often forced on banks at the expense long-term strategy. To achieve this, banks typically find ways to impose maximum fees on their customers. Credit unions embrace strategies that are focused on the long-term health of their financial institution. They do not need to maximize fees from their members in order to satisfy profit targets. Instead, credit unions invest in future products and services designed to meet their member’s long-term needs.
Big Business clients vs. You and your co-workers
It makes perfect sense that a for-profit, national giant bank would seek out for-profit, national companies as customers. How many regular people making a living would it take to bring the kind of profit a multi-billion dollar corporation would bring to a financial institution. It also makes perfect sense that banks put most of their resources towards giving the giant companies attention and service. Credit Unions do not play in that arena. 99% of credit union customers are people, with hearts, minds and needs. The members of your credit union are your family, friends, coworkers and folks living in your community.
Giant unknown corporate vs. Access to top executives
What would you do if you had a real problem as a customer of a giant bank? Good luck calling customer service. If you were able to get to a real person, you would be hard pressed to solve your serious issue. If you had to speak to a top executive, you would certainly fall short. On the other hand, you know where your credit union is. You can find the main branch and get to speak to professionals directly who care about you and your concerns. Most credit union CEOs and Presidents provide access to their office if your concern required such attention. These are all people you know, like and trust.
“Not for Profit” vs. Only for Profit
Our Federal Government supports the credit union movement by allowing each to maintain “not for profit” status. This means that there are tax benefits and protections that give credit unions an opportunity to provide you higher interest rates on savings accounts and/or lower interest rates on loans. This financial advantage over banks afforded credit unions is important so each has a chance to compete against the big banks who must pay the Government some of their profits in the form of taxes.
If you are not a member of a credit union, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If at all possible, we will help direct you to a local credit union. If you are already a member, make sure you visit their lobby, reach out to them by phone or access them via mobile/online to discuss their products and services that meet your needs.
Written By: David J. Sussman Esq. CLU