Credit Unions Give Banks a Run for Their Money
No longer are credit unions simply mom-and-pop operations.
Increasingly they are becoming full-service financial providers with product portfolios that can compete with banks. And more people have access to their services: many now serve communities rather than specific company employees.
As customers became more demanding, many credit unions began to offer expanded mortgage lending and credit-card services. Within the next couple of years, many plan to move into services such as student loans, international money-transfers and branded prepaid cards, according to a recent survey.
Increased sophistication means that members will "be able to use credit unions to meet all their financial needs," says Christine Barry, research director at Aite Group, a financial-services industry research group. Aite conducted a survey of 101 credit unions with more than $100 million in assets.Credit unions are somewhat of a financial services safe haven in today's volatile consumer loan market. They avoided much of the sub-prime debacle by not offering the types of exotic loans and teaser rates that were widely available at the time. Unlike banks, which are responsible to their stockholders, credit unions are ultimately responsible only to their members, who collectively own the financial institutions.
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