Why making the change to a credit union could make 2018 better for you

Jan 4 2018, 7:50 pm

The new year brings countless opportunities for change.

For you, this could mean moving to a new neighbourhood, starting a new job, or learning a new skill in your free time. It could even mean making an effort to better manage your money.

Of course, this starts with monitoring your expenses, but it extends to where you keep your money. For example: Do you opt to have your paycheque deposited into your bank account? Do you save with the same financial institution? These questions all play a serious factor in how your money is spent and, ultimately, how it is saved.

People are increasingly making banking choices that closely align with their needs and values. Sure, your parents may have experienced lower tuition and housing costs, more secure job prospects, and better banking, but right now things are a little different for young people.

So in the “out with the old and in with the new” spirit, you can make a change that could work in your favour: Switching to a credit union. Here’s a look at some of the features that come along with this New Year’s resolution.

Keep better company

The people around you can explicitly and subtly influence everything from your attitude to your spending habits. So why not surround yourself with people that help you feel like your best self?

Many of us already factor that in every day when making purchases. So why should your bank be any different? After all, you need it almost everywhere you go. Yet in recent years, big banks haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory with fee increases.

Credit unions, on the other hand, focus on creating products targeted to your needs, such as affordable alternatives and family-friendly mortgage products.

Own your bank – and even help run it

Can you imagine having any say at all in how your current bank is run? Perhaps not. But if you’re a member of a credit union, you’re part of a cooperative that answers to its members and all customers are members.

Credit union members are equal shareholders who collectively own the financial institution. This means that you can have a say in how your credit union is run through annual AGMs and electing the Board of Directors. Oh, and you can even stand as a candidate, yourself.

Being member-owned keeps credit unions focused on what really matters—people, as opposed to profits.

Embrace your local community

The growth and popularity of local movements is hard to ignore. You can probably already see the benefits of distributing your dollars around your local economy, and credit unions extend that ethos by allowing you to bank locally as well.

With credit unions, money left over at the end of the year is given back and circulated within the community to benefit local people, small businesses, and the economy. Members receive dividends, and institutions like schools and hospitals benefit from donations.

So can switching to a credit union make for an easier 2018? It all comes down to who you want by your side as you navigate the waters ahead.