Are you interested in making a difference in your community? Did you know that credit unions do just that? Del Norte Credit Union wants you to know there’s a big difference between credit unions and banks. To begin with, credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives owned by their members and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. This means there are no shareholders, and there is a vested interest in the success of our communities. When you are a part of a credit union, you are considered a member, not a customer.
What Credit Unions Do
“We work in a way that allows our members to benefit because we give back to our communities,” says Del Norte Credit Union Digital Marketing Specialist Lisa Romero. “We are very involved in the communities. We offer many workshops and educational services to our members, such as financial literacy. Our interest rates are usually lower so that we can lend out more money because we know that by making it easier for our communities to purchase homes, get a credit card, or get a personal loan, they will, in turn give back to the communities themselves, by living here and helping to make the communities brighter.”
This is not just true for Del Norte Credit Union but for all credit unions across the board. “Even though some might say we are in competition with other credit unions, we work with them because we know that credit unions are here to help the communities,” Lisa says. “It’s not really a competition. If a member is going to a credit union instead of a bank, that’s all we really want.”
An example of this community work can be found in the fires last year that devastated communities in Northern New Mexico. When those big fires were raging Del Norte Credit Union put the fire victims first, offering personal loans and extending personal lines of credit at very low or zero interest rates to members in need. It became a priority, and they focused on the needs of the community.
A Better Way to Bank
One of the biggest differences between banks and credit unions besides the community focus, is the fees. Your average bank may charge $12 or more monthly to keep your money in a checking account. That adds up to $144 a year. Most credit union checking accounts don’t charge regular monthly fees.
Need more examples of how credit unions are better than banks? Credit unions tend to have lower rates on credit cards, personal loans, and mortgages. DNCU is part of the largest network of surcharge-free ATMs throughout the U.S. through CU Anytime and Co-op. Credit unions also offer investment services, just like banks, and because they typically have lower rates, members keep more money in their pockets.
“Everything that we do, we’re doing because we want to better our community,” Lisa says. “We’re not doing it because we want to make money, because we don’t have shareholders that we have to pay. We’re not trying to make a profit. It’s so funny to say it out loud because most people think we’re just blowing hot air, but no, every employee that works here truly believe in our mission of improving lives . Our customer service is rated very highly. The people who work here are hired for that reason. We want them to be helpful, warm, present, and always do the right thing for the member. You are not just another number at a credit union but a member/owner.”
Banking with credit unions can also help raise your credit score. Del Norte Credit Union focuses heavily on financial literacy, which means they work to give their members the tools they need to increase their credit scores. One handy tool inside their online banking app called More Than a Score allows you to see your credit score at no cost. The tool will give you helpful insights, such as if you’re not paying on time, it can affect 40% of your score. More Than a Score also offers simulations to test what happens if you pay off your debt early or increase your line of credit.
“Most people don’t know about their credit score, but if you give them the tools they need, they will find their way,” Lisa says. “Financial literacy is the first way to do that. We really try to educate our members.”
The Del Norte Credit Union Difference
Del Norte Credit Union is serious about its involvement in the communities they serce. Beyond the business of offering credit and keeping your money safe, they do a lot of outreach.
“We go to local events and try to educate people about how we are trying to save them money,” Lisa says. “Most consumers don’t really shop around for banks. They feel that one is just as good as the other. They don’t realize the huge differences between banks and credit unions. It’s all very transparent. We’re not trying to make money off our members. We don’t view them as a commodity. We view them as people. That’s why they are member/owners and not just customers.”
To find out more about Del Norte Credit Union and what they have to offer, visit the website.This article was posted by David Salcido