What You’ll Learn
- Discover the many ways credit unions benefit and support your community.
- Learn about the benefits of credit unions compared to traditional banks, including our focus on expanding access to affordable banking services and helping you confidently budget and save your money.
At first glance, you might think credit unions and for-profit banks look a lot alike. They both offer checking and savings accounts, loans, and credit cards, right? Sure, but when you look closer, it’s easy to see some key differences that set credit unions apart—and why it matters where you do your banking.
Helping You Do Better With Your Money
First and foremost, banking with a credit union is good for your credit score, your monthly budget, your ability to build up your savings—things that we collectively refer to as your ”financial health.” Why? Since credit unions are member-owned and not-for-profit, their earnings go back to their members through better rates and lower fees. This means you can often earn more interest on your savings, be charged fewer (or no) fees, and pay less interest on a loan than you would at a bank. All these benefits can give a boost to your finances. They can also help you reach your goals faster, from building good credit all the way to buying your first home.
Empowering You and Your Neighbors
Another vital role credit unions play is supporting your community by offering banking services to individuals and businesses that banks may have rejected. Credit unions will frequently provide checking and savings account options for people who have faced challenges with their credit or those who are just starting to build credit. Here at Salal, for example, we offer a Pathway Checking program specially designed for people who are in the process of building or rebuilding their credit. We provide banking services for the legal and regulated cannabis industry, which means that businesses are able to operate, pay their taxes, provide jobs to individuals, pay them real paychecks, and stimulate their local economy. We also make solar panels more accessible by helping homeowners finance the purchase and installation at an affordable rate. Not only does this raise the value of their homes, it strengthens clean energy initiatives in our communities and contributes to a healthier environment for everyone.
Helping You Get Smart with Your Money
Credit unions empower people with financial education, helping them better understand banking, budgeting, and saving, so they can make smart money decisions and plan for tomorrow. At Salal, for instance, we have partnered with BALANCE Financial Fitness to offer our members free, confidential financial counseling, money management tools, and financial learning resources like webinars. Knowing how to plan for the future sets the foundation for an empowered life. Why are credit unions so committed to our members’ long-term success? Because those members are also our owners—helping you succeed is our whole reason for being in business.
Everyday Banking that Builds Stronger Communities
Banking with a credit union doesn’t just help your finances, it empowers your neighbors. For one thing, credit unions are often regionally or locally based, which means your money is staying in your local economy. So, while your deposits are earning interest, the credit union can use some of that money to make loans to people and businesses in your community—including those who might not be able to get loans from larger banks. And the stronger a local credit union is, the more people it can help and the more it can give back to your community. Credit unions also support local communities by providing grants and scholarships to students and nonprofit organizations. They also engage in school and university outreach programs to promote financial literacy and teach money management skills to young people.