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How to Switch From a Bank to a Credit Union

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Credit union memberships have recently increased by 3.37 million as more people realize that the credit union member-first, community-focused approach better suits their financial needs. Better rates and lower fees are just two money-smart reasons to consider breaking up with your bank. Thinking of making the switch from a big bank to your local credit union? Here’s a practical guide to help you make that move.

Why make the switch? 

You’ve likely heard the old saying that people reveal their true colors in times of crisis. This is true for financial institutions as well, and credit unions are proving to be the far superior choice during tough times. With a heart for Main Street instead of Wall Street, credit unions continued to lend or even increased lending during the Great Recession and current pandemic, while banks have pulled back lending options for consumers.

Here are just a few other perks that come with choosing a credit union over a bank:
  • Personal, friendly customer service
  • A community focus
  • Better rates on loans
  • Higher interest rates on savings accounts and CDs
  • No unnecessary and costly fees
  • As a member, you are a part owner of the credit union
If that sounds like good news for your wallet (and it is!), it’s time to find out if you’re eligible. Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperative organizations, and their membership eligibility requirements might include specific employers, a geographic area or specialized groups, such as churches and universities. This commonality means the community’s and its members’ goals, interests and needs are always front and center.

How can I switch?

Now that you’ve found a credit union that works for you, it’s time to put your plan into action. Making the move from a bank customer to a credit union member is easier than you might think.
  1. Open an account.Opening an account is just like opening an account at a bank. You can do this online, over the phone, or by coming into a branch. While doing so, ask if they have a guide to help you switch from your current bank to your new credit union account.
  2. Make your initial deposit. To become a member of a credit union, you need to make a small deposit. This is the purchase of your share in the credit union. It varies by credit union but typically ranges from $5 - $25.
  3. Check on your automatic payments. Any bills that you have auto-deducted from your bank accounts will need to be switched over to your new credit union account. The same goes for any direct deposits.
  4. Close your old accounts. Once you’ve timed your auto-payments correctly, it’s time to close your old accounts.
Like with any financial account, you’ll need to provide information about yourself to open an account:
  • Social Security Number
  • Your Current Address
  • Valid ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
Remember, if you have any questions about eligibility or switching to a credit union accounts, you can just ask! Friendly, personalized customer service is a perk of being a credit union member, and help is only a phone call (or Live Online Chat) away. 

Count on us

Switching from a bank to a credit union can save you money and give you peace of mind knowing you have a banking partner you can trust that puts your interests above those of outside shareholders. Power Financial Credit Union serves nearly 35,000 South Florida members. With 70 years of experience, we know how to provide direct, helpful services that are tailor-made for your unique situation. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your financial goals.