Advantages of community credit unions over banks include lower fees, lower loan interest rates, higher savings interest rates and more personal customer service, reports About.com. The National Credit Union Administration insures deposits at most credit unions for up to $250,000 as of 2015. Once consumers satisfy the membership requirements, such as residence in a specific location, they can remain members for life, even if they move away.
Banks often charge high fees for account maintenance, overdrafts, use of out-of-network ATMs and other transactions, but comparable credit union fees are lower or nonexistent, explains Business Insider. Many credit unions offer free checking accounts, and though they typically do not have many branded ATMs, they reimburse customers who have to use outside ATMs. Few banks offer accounts that yield interest, but credit unions often offer interest-yielding savings and checking accounts. Credit union interest rates are significantly lower for loans, and they are more likely to attempt to accommodate members with poor credit who needs a mortgage loan, according to About.com.
When consumers open accounts at credit unions, they become members and shareholders, notes About.com. This shifts the emphasis from creating higher profits to improving customer support and service. In some credit unions, members can attend meetings and vote on account policies.