Saving money with credit unions

November 14, 2010

Most people have heard of credit unions, but never consider joining. But if you want to save money, you should.

Becoming a member of a credit union basically allows you to own and operate your own bank.

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives. That means, unlike banks, their mission is to serve you instead of make money off of you.

"You become a member-owner. So our members own the credit union," said Francesa Vogel.

Membership entitles you to vote for the board of directors, who are unpaid volunteers saving credit unions a lot of money!

"We're able to return our excess earnings to our members," said Vogel.

That means reduced fees. Or in some cases, no fees at all, higher interest rates on savings products, and lower interest rates on loans and credit cards.

At Sun Federal, you can get a Visa credit card with interest as low as 7.9%.

"And that's a rewards card as well. We have mortgages as low as 3.95%," Vogel said.

Expect Mom and Pop friendliness and hands-on customer service with the convenience of a large national network of branches.

Credit unions like Sun Federal work with other credit unions to provide members shared records and a network of ATMs that won't charge you a fee.

For a list of credit unions you can join, just go here to, type in your address in this box and hit search.

Membership requirements can be very broad. For instance, it's not just employees and retirees of Sun Federal's sponsor companies who are eligible to join. Those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Philadelphia, Delaware, or Montgomery counties may also be eligible.

And members become members for life.


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